Say you're trying to decide between two logo designs. One of them, you love. The other you know will really connect with your ideal client.
How do you choose which one to go with?
Now, I doubt you'll come across a situation exactly like that while running your business, but having to balance your taste with your ideal client's is a common quandary business owners find themselves in when working on their visual brand.
And like everything else related to visual branding, there's not one right answer. It depends on you, your business, and your audience.
Who is More Important?
The first thing to consider in a situation when you have to choose between your taste and your client's is this: who is more important to your business?
It may be instinct to think the client is king, no matter what, but that's not always the case.
If you're building a personal brand, and what you're selling is you, in one way or another, you're more important to your visual brand than your audience. Because what your audience wants is you.
In a similar way, if you're a service-based business owner who works one-on-one with clients, you're integral to your business. Your clients are looking to trust you as well as benefit from your offer. In that situation, you and your ideal client are on pretty equal grounds when it comes to who your visual brand is about.
But, if you run a larger company that doesn't work one-on-one with clients, or you sell products, your clients and customers are much more integral to your visual brand than the owner is.
Speak Your Client's Language
No matter which of the above categories you fall into, you still need to be aware of your client's visual language, so your visual brand can speak to them in a way they understand.
For example, I use what some have called "millennial pink" in my visual brand. For women in their 20s and 30s, this pink represents reclaiming and being proud of our femininity, as well as the other connotations pink usually has.
To my mom, however, this pink reminds her of her grandmother. Color trends come and go, and because this pink had a different meaning when it was originally introduced to my mom's generation, it's telling them a completely different story.
So even if you're building a personal brand, and using your visual brand to represent yourself, you still need to be aware of and intentional with the message you're communicating with your audience.
Love It Enough to Share It
Even if your business is completely client/customer-centric, your taste still matters.
Because you're the one that has to put your visual brand into the world.
Your visual brand can only work if you're willing to use it everywhere, and getting really visible. Agreeing to a visual brand you don't really like will dampen your motivation to market your business.
So even if you create a visual brand that will make clients beat down your door, it'll do nothing for your business if it's not a visual brand you're willing to share and use.
The Dangers of Each Extreme
Following your own taste blindly without consideration of your clients may lead to you speaking in a visual language that only you understand, alienating the very people you want to attract.
Discarding your taste and only looking at your client's may lead you to be dissatisfied and demotivated in your marketing efforts.
The most effective visual brand is one that marries your taste with your ideal client's in a way most effective for your business model.
Need help creating a visual brand that you and your ideal client love? Check out my Noteworthy Visual Brand Starter Kit!
I'm a brand designer who helps business owners who are tired of their marketing efforts just pulling "okay" results. I help them stand out and be remembered online by designing them a Noteworthy Visual Brand that attract their ideal clients - effortlessly.