A few years ago, an artist friend of mine was discussing the concept of “finding your voice” as a designer. While I am a subscriber to the idea of voice and perspective as a an illustrator or artist, I think the idea of finding your voice as a graphic designer can be misleading. It sends young designers searching high and low for their aesthetic, their “style”, their calling card. And while style is an integral part of the design process, it’s not what ultimately makes you a great commercial artist.
For me, being a great commercial designer is about turning the tables on the idea of “voice”. You as the designer get to help the brand or individual you’re working with find their voice. It’s as much about research as the actual design work. In our studio, we often spend more time on the initial discovery and research process than the actual design of assets. You might be saying to yourself, “you’re a design studio… you should be designing”. And you’re right – We should be designing, but we also need to make sure that when we design, we’re going in the right direction. The more thorough our research, the better and more targeted our identities, web products and overall brand experiences become.
“Design with purpose” has become a sort of mantra for OSHIN as a studio. Whether it’s a tour poster for a metal band, motion design for a TV network or a full brand overhaul of a Fortune 500, our process always starts with detailed research and a strategy. That’s where the “Purpose” in “Design with Purpose” comes from: In doing the upfront research, we help our clients find their voice, their purpose, and in doing so, find ours as well. In a future series titled, “Design with Purpose” – we’ll review OSHIN’s research process and provide tips and framework for kicking off your creative projects.