The Circle of Trust & Investing in the Brief.

Our design team recently went to the Best of the Best Designers Speak event, where some of last year's winners of The Best Design Awards tour the country to offer first-hand insights into their projects. We came away with a few more tools to add to our arsenal.

Starting a project on the right foot is paramount to its success and nailing the design brief is an essential part of that. However the quality of that brief will depend on where you are in a client's circle of trust and how much you're able to invest.

The wide range of speakers gave us an excellent behind the scenes look into the processes, trials, and tribulations each creative faced when designing their award winning project.

Our biggest takeaways were :

  • Get inside the circle of trust
  • Invest in the brief

The circle of trust.

The more trust we have with our clients, the greater risks you can take creatively, and if those risks were calculated correctly, the payoff will be worth it. However trust is earned, not given.

It’s our job as creatives to do what’s necessary to be invited in to a clients circle. An effective way is through empathy — understanding the clients & users needs, objectives, their situation and where they want their product to be when it’s all said and done.

At Custom D we build empathy through workshops — it’s a chance for us to collaborate with the client, understand their pain points, users, challenges, and how we can help. Vital to that success is documenting those needs and objectives into a design brief that will ultimately shape the direction of the project.

Invest in the brief.

Arch MacDonnell and Toby Curnow of took us through their research & design process for the new Steinlager Tokyo Dry. Arch & Tony started the project with a lot of up front investment into research and analysis — the bulk of which was spent immersing themselves within Japanese culture, experiencing all aspects of art, typography, the streets, the bars, the people.

Inhouse Design - Steinlager Tokyo Dry

By immersing themselves within Japanese culture Arch & Tony were able to come away with enough insights to create a solid design brief that not only meet the requirements Steinlager needed for their product but also direct and influence the outcome of the overall design trajectory. This up front investment gave a point of reference for the project and clarity for what they wanted to achieve, setting the path for how to do so.

At the end of the day, we came away with a greater appreciation for how valuable it is to have a clients trust and how that has a ripple effect with how much investment you can pour in to the research and analysis of a project to impact the creative direction of the design.

Read another article from this conference: Philosophy Meets Design

Write a response...