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Design for the Nuance

When we start a branding project, or any project really, we ask our clients to describe the feeling they want their brand/design/asset to be. This is essentially our emotional positioning for the project. For us, we use this as our gut check. Does this design feel x,y, and z.


And at most meetings, I end up saying something along the lines of ‘Our favorite brands to design are those where the feelings you list don’t seem to go together’. These are the brands that we can play in the nuance, diving into the details and can add an extra layer of meaning to everything we do. 



For instance, many athletic brands want to feel sleek, and powerful, and strong, and clean. You’re a B2B SaaS brand? You want to be bold and friendly and simple and professional. This is why so often many businesses within the same industry start to look and sound and feel the same. 


It’s also why you almost never can actually remember which ad goes with which brand or which website belongs to who. And in order to differentiate themselves from the pack, they lead heavily with feature lists, which are great, to a point. They don’t offer me as a consumer any shortcut to remember them, or make it easier for me to identify in a line up which product is best for me


It may seem silly or frivolous to focus on how your business feels but when you don’t you end up missing out on the very simple fact that people make decisions based on emotions. 


When you focus the tension in your brand, the elements that seem almost contradictory, (we want to be clean yet warm, we want to be elevated yet accessible) we start honing in on the nuance in your business and what you’re building. You’re not just another B2B SaaS product or athletic company, you’re building something for someone. And that someone is nuanced. So we design for that nuance.



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Profile picture of Olivia Wisden, author of this blog post as well as the CEO/Founder of UnderBelly Creative.

About The Author

Olivia Wisden is the Founder + CEO of TwoLips Creative. She has worked with dozens of brands over the years ranging from city initiatives to product launches and beyond. When she’s not fan-girling over the design team’s illustrations she can probably be found reading a novel or attending a boxing class.

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