GRAPHICAL CLIENT ASSESSMENT FOR COMMUNICATION DESIGNERS SERVING SMALL BUSINESSES: AN APPLICATION OF PHOTO ELICITATION THEORY
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Relationships between Communication Designers (CD) and clients have always suffered from a lack of mutual language in which both parties could effectively communicate. Traditional verbal interviews, used by CDs to determine brand identity requirements of a client, often result in miscommunication and tension because of a perceived lack of understanding, thereby negatively affecting outcomes. This research describes the construction of a simple, graphically based test, designed to improve the CD/client relationship by replacing graphic design terminology with images. The use of imagery to determine a client’s acceptance of shape, color, content, typography, hierarchy, and social archetypes, allows for a more productive dialogue between CD and client, by encouraging increased client involvement in the design process. This dialogue, devoid of terminological misunderstandings, results in a more acceptable brand identity outcome, directly influenced by client input. The Graphical Client Assessment (GCA) test was administered to a small business client and the resulting data was used to develop a brand identity. Outcomes were presented to the client to determine the level of acceptance of the proposed identity. The CD, using data collected by the GCA, was successful in creating a brand identity the client would accept with no further design ideation necessary.