It’s the process of collecting image s or video that reflect the taste and buying habits of your target market. It is also the process of collecting inspirational imagery that will inspire your design aesthetic, like colors, shapes, furniture, architecture, people, fashion, advertisements, and so on.
This collection can be a group of image s you found on the Internet, photocopies from a magazine, or video from a TV show. Whatever you use, you should collect what’s needed and organize it for your project.
When justifying your design themes to the client, you’ll want to present this collection of image s or video to show how your research has inspired your design choices. Whenever you’re doing research for a project, talk to your client first, because they may have already done the research for you.
Through either a web site, brochure, or written material, most clients have something of value to add to the project. It could just be their opinion, but that opinion may give you a wealth of understanding about their business… in any case, the client is always right. The first place to start to get information for our Nokia commercial would be from the people who assigned the project. Jot down their ideas first and then research the consumers they are targeting, in our case teens. If you know some teens, it would be great just to ask them what they like in the way of fashion, music, television, and so on. It’s a win-win situation because you’re actually talking to the target audience.
A web site is another great resource. In our case, Nokia’s web site is filled with an astounding amount of imagery and animation selling its products. Nokia has already spent millions on developing a web site that markets its products to the right people, so for the sake of our research, it’s the best game in town. At first look, the web site may seem a little corporate, but with further research you’ll find that each phone has its own web page.
Each web page has been designed with an aesthetic appeal targeted toward that phone’s core demographic, and if you look closely at the image s, you’ll see fashion, color, texture, graphics, and animation all used to entice the prospective buyer. This is exactly what we need.
As I peruse the web site, I come across a phone that is marketed toward young people. It looks really hip and graphic, so I’ll print some image s for reference material. I definitely get the feeling that Nokia sees itself as having a very hip and technology-driven product. Hip and technology are two great design themes that we can use as references for our project.
At this point, I have a good idea of what Nokia thinks appeals to young people, but I want to look for a design angle that’s different and cool, so I’m going to look for other sources of “teen” inspiration. As my research continues, I want to look in the best place for observing the current trends in music, fashion, television, film, and advertising directed toward that teen demographic. When thinking about the best source for a collection of teen targeted imagery, I can only think of one MTV.
MTV is my old favorite, because it does a better job than anybody at appealing to a young audience through the use of dynamic animated visuals. Flip on MTV and watch for a while; you’ll soon see the repeated use of color, music, celebrities, world events, fashion, sports, and so on in order to pique the viewer’s interest. Make a list of these qualities like graphic shapes, text layout, motion, nostalgia, colors, and so on and if you’re inspired by a specific image , draw the design themes like shape, proportion, and color to use for your research. Record a video or commercial that gives meaning to what you are trying to convey in the way of inspiration.
While observing MTV, I’ve noticed a recurring use of graphics, fashion, music, and color all inspired by iconic designs used during the ’80s. I take note of what I like and I go online to gather printable reference material. The first thing I do is Google “trends in the ’80s,” and my search yields thousands of web sites dedicated to celebrating this era with details on fads, themes, music, and more.
With an hour or so of searching, the most iconic theme I see repeated over and over again is that of classic arcade games, with titles like Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Frogger, Pac-Man, Defender, and Robotron. Yeah! I was a kid in the ’80s and nothing else existed for me after school except the local arcade. Even today I can’t shake the video game bug. Now I feel that I’m onto something; in fact, ’80s arcade games are so close to my heart that it will be a snap to come up with some cool ideas.