Research is Like Picking Strawberries

strawberry leaves

You know how when you’re picking strawberries, you think you’ve gotten them all but as soon as you turn around you see spots of red you’ve missed? You really have to look from different directions to see all the berries.

This past week I’ve been working on a project for a new client. He’s an AICP certified consultant to city planners and, in a remote way, his project is related to picking strawberries. I’ve peppered him with questions. I’ve checked out his competitors’ websites, as well as thoroughly reading his own. I’ve even called planners from a variety of cities. In essence, I’ve looked at his project from many different directions so I can better understand it.

All this “looking in different directions” is considered creative research and, oh, it’s so important. In fact, when I participated in The Pricing Group, an exercise in pricing, creative research was the portion of the design process my seven peers and I spent the most time on. The exercise’s project was for a relatively small website of 6-7 pages, yet the time designated to research ranged from 3-15 hours. For many, it was more time than they designated to the actual building of the site.

What is creative research and why is it so important?

Creative research is the studying a designer does before even opening up a sketchbook. It’s the getting to know the client—his business, industry, target market and competitors. Creative research is the foundation for the overall project, because, really, how can we successfully communicate a business if we know nothing about it?

When shopping for a designer for your project, whether it’s a website, printed piece or logo, be sure to ask about creative research. A professional designer will know what you’re talking about.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the interesting projects I’m working on with the consultant. He’s got a great product and you’ll be interested in learning more. I know I am (in addition to picking strawberries, which are in full force this week on our little farm).

dew in the morning

Early morning has special gifts for the ambitious, get-your-butt-out-of-bed types. Not only is it a photographer’s Golden Hour, it also offers dewy vignettes seldom seen later in the day.

Oh, the joy of looking in every direction!

(By the way, if you’re looking for a designer who is ambitiously out of bed and does creative research, drop me a line:-)

2 thoughts on “Research is Like Picking Strawberries”

  1. I’m not much on picking strawberries but I agree totally with the creative research. How much research do you think those $100 logo “designers” are doing?


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