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What socks are you wearing?

So, this post isn't really about socks. Well, kind of. But not exactly. What I really want to talk about is the design dilemma. I know, I know! Then why am I talking about socks?

If there is one thing I can say about design, is that it is very personal. It is a lot like personal style. What you do and don't like will come out in the design(s) you choose to use for you and your business. Because it is tied to you as a person, when it is like or not liked, you can and will feel it personally.

But what about socks?!

Well, because socks is very much a personal style. A lot like design. I actually like looking at people's socks when I am getting to know them, because they say a lot about a person's style. Or it might say how somebody is feeling on a given day. My daughter for example, never wears matching socks, and it drives me nuts! My socks have to match. I sometimes like fun and interesting socks. But, They. Must. Match.

If I see someone that wears just plain color socks with suit pants (boring black or khaki), I know they are probably going to be looking at clean lines, straight forward design without crazy colors. But maybe the person is in a suit and tie, with bright color socks. That might mean they enjoy some things slightly out of the box, like more color, but are somewhat constrained or limited by the type of business as to how far they can go in creativity. So, do the socks make a little more sense now? It is all about personal style. That style is reflected in everything we do. Especially as we look at design, and what we each do and don't like.

But here's the big picture. Design is personal. Just like your socks. It is reflective of who you are as a person and as a business, as well as the people to whom you are reaching out to. The person designing, the person who has made the request, the business, for each piece of the puzzle, it is personal.

So let's look at each area and how design is personal.

You the business owner: How you represent you matters. Your personality comes out in your business. If you are a business

suit and tie kind of person, everything you do is going to reflect that. You may see designs that are more elegant, because that is personally what you like. Or maybe your style is more hippie than suit and tie. When you look at a logo, you will be looking at color and out of the box type of style. This part has nothing to do with your business. It has everything to do with you as a person, and what you do and don't like. It is no different than clothing style.

Your business: Think about how important reviews are about

business. People are constantly looking at the business as a whole, who they are, what they provide and how they connect to the community. Advertising is a part of that. When you work hard to put together an advertising campaign, only to hear people say something like "that business has horrible advertising," it gets personal, and comes back around to you as the owner, and it being personal for you, because you are your business, and your business is a part you.

Your customers: Sometimes businesses are attempting to reach a

specific demographic. In doing that, they may advertise to a unique group, which could, if not done carefully, hurt some feelings. Or maybe just turn people away in general because they can't connect. People respond to advertising because it is personal.

Your marketing person/team: Whoever does your marketing likely

wears different socks than you, so be thinking about that. Some marketers are super creative (crazy sock people), and some are very focused on the message (not crazy sock people). But they could have a totally different idea of what looks good. They also usually have an understanding of how marketing works psychologically, which may or may not be what you want. But because they are spending time and energy creating something, it becomes their baby, and it becomes personal.

What does it all mean?

That marketing and design takes time, understanding, communication and most of all patience.

Designers have to get to know their customers. Business owners need to understand themselves, what they like and how they look show themselves and communicate that with their design team. And everyone has to work together. It can take a while for a marketer/designer to get a good feel for a business owner, and know what they like and don't like. Business owners need to be willing to listen to marketers/designers to understand why they may be saying something is not a good advertising idea. If you have a new business, are working with a new marketing person or company, give each other time and communicate with understanding a patience. And check out each others socks!!

At Graphically Deb, we strive to build relationships with our customers. Those relationships help us know what they like and don't like, and how to tailor advertising to fit their needs while still being effective. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or to see how we might be able to help.

Now go out there and do you! In whatever socks you choose. You know now you will be checking out everyone's socks.....

Tiea Vaughn

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