Relevance, Context and Making Your Audience Smile

Branding and Understanding Context My daughter’s turning seven shortly and is bursting with pride about having a very wobbly front tooth. If I had to walk around with a missing tooth, I would instantly become mute. My daughter, on the other hand, can’t wait. Of course for a first grader, it’s a symbol of growing up. Her class is being filled with lisps and those kids that have not lost their front teeth wake every morning anxious for signs of movement. It reminds me that understanding context is essential for anyone attempting to influence behavior. Graphic design, and in particular branding’s role in business is to influence a particular audience and to inspire meaning. This is accomplished by realizing we react differently depending on our circumstances.

The more people we try to communicate with, the more generic our messages have to become.” Neville Brody. From How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman

A lisp inducing gap can be a symbol that connects with one audiences core desire to grow up, providing a feeling of belonging and pride. The same gap can be a represent hard luck and a burden to another. Every audience has particular desires and influences, and no single solution can meet everyone’s needs. Understanding context is the key to creating meaningful connections. It’s a designer’s and clients best opportunity to ensure their audience smiles wide and proud.

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