Graphical Client Assessment for Communication Designers Serving Small Businesses: An Application of Photo Elicitation Theory




Lawrence, Grayson Blake

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Relationships between Communication Designers (CD) and clients have always suffered from a lack of mutual language in which both parties could effectively communicate. Traditional verbal interviews, used by CDs to determine brand identity requirements of a client, often result in miscommunication and tension because of a perceived lack of understanding, thereby negatively affecting outcomes. This research describes the construction of a simple, graphically based test, designed to improve the CD/client relationship by replacing graphic design terminology with images. The use of imagery to determine a client’s acceptance of shape, color, content, typography, hierarchy, and social archetypes, allows for a more productive dialogue between CD and client, by encouraging increased client involvement in the design process. This dialogue, devoid of terminological misunderstandings, results in a more acceptable brand identity outcome, directly influenced by client input. The Graphical Client Assessment (GCA) test was administered to a small business client and the resulting data was used to develop a brand identity. Outcomes were presented to the client to determine the level of acceptance of the proposed identity. The CD, using data collected by the GCA, was successful in creating a brand identity the client would accept with no further design ideation necessary.



graphic design, customer relations, ideation strategy, graphic design strategy, alternative interview method, brand identity, brand identity strategy, branding element


Lawrence, G. B. (2010). Graphical client assessment for communication designers serving small businesses: An application of photo elicitation theory (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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