Who are you designing for?

Shannel Wheeler
3 min readApr 25, 2022

Graphic design is visual communication for an intended audience. This means that the message in your design should be directed toward a specific audience. While it might feel safe to say that the design is for everyone, the truth is that anyone can consume it but everyone will not receive it. That’s because the design’s message should be targeted and focused. Let’s take this scenario:

The designer has a client who is opening a specialty candle shop. All the scents are nature-inspired and the majority of the ingredients are naturally sourced from the client’s illustrious herb garden. The designer is tasked with creating a visual identity for the company including a logo, branded labels for the candles, a simple website, and signage for the shop.

Client Needs
The client, in this scenario, is typically a person or company who needs design services. The client obviously wants two things: 1) for the visual branding of her company to be representative of her candles and the overall spirit/purpose of her business and 2) to make sales and spread awareness about her products.

Audience Needs
The true target audience of the candle business is the end customers or end-users of the client. They are the ones who will ultimately consume the product. They are drawn to these candles because they not only have a love for unique scents but also value natural ingredients and environment-friendly products and services.

Alignment
So who is the designer designing for? The client or the client’s customers? Technically, both. The client is the decision-maker and has the final say on the design; however, the client should also be placing the customer at the center of her business and focusing on how to best attract and serve them. Ultimately, the designer wants to create a visual identity that properly represents the client’s business for the purpose of serving the intended audience — the customers (and future customers).

Both the designer and the client should be on the same page about this and the design decisions made should prioritize proper visual communication toward attracting those customers. An example of designing with the target audience in mind could be choosing colors. The client’s favorite color is black, but…

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Shannel Wheeler

Left-brain creative | Brand/Design Implementation | Design Instruction and Inspiration | Creating with Purpose: https://shannelwheeler.com