Visual Design Components – Class 3

Based on photo by dhester from
Based on photo by dhester from

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 4     Class 5     Class 6

Today’s Class

  • Applying Step 1 of the Design Process: The Project Outline
  • Target Audience Workshop

Applying the Design Process –

Step 1: The Project Outline

  1. You must clearly define what is required to be designed.
    What requirements/problems must the design solve? – inform, promote, sell. define a mood, etc.
  2. Define the target audience?
  3. Determine format and delivery platform. Are there any specifications or constraints? Think about size, format, cost, time, colour, etc.


Based on image by hotblack on - F.Viola
Based on image by hotblack on – F.Viola

Target Audience Workshop

When defining your target audience you might fall into the same trap as most people, you might define your target audience to broadly. It is a common mistake to assume that (potentially) everyone is your target audience. The mistake is the assumption that a larger target audience gives you a larger gruop of potential customers, buyers or clients. The reality is unfortunately different and I would like to clarify it with a metphor:

Love in the making… Cupid 1 says that he wants to shoot an arrow and hit any person in a park. He assumes that he will hit one eventually. He closes his eyes and shoots an arrow.

Cupid 2 aims for a specific couple, he studies them, estimates the distance, the direction and strength of the wind and then (and only then) takes aim on that particularly couple.

Cupid 2 has it right, he will get the target audience that he anticipated, his product (the arrow) is custom made for the task. Furthermore Cupid 2 takes the time to find the right people for each other, not just anyone…

Source: GraphicsFairyBlog - click image for link
Source: GraphicsFairyBlog – click image for link

When defining your target audience you need to be specific and aim to get into the mindset of your audience. Understand what excites them, what interests them, what issues are important to them, how they communicate verbally and in social media. You want to understand what style appeals to them, what colour scheme is suitable and what other products, websites, apps, social media they purchase or frequent.

Clear Goal Media advises to find a niche market and ask yourself these 5 questions about your target audience:

  • Desires (things they aspire to but not necessarily need)
  • Values (a code of behaviour they define as ‘good’, ‘cool’ and /or  ‘appropriate’)
  • Needs (things within your niche they cannot do without and if you provide solutions will ‘hook’ them)
  • Can they pay for the products you promote or sell?
  • What is their level of expertise (you need to pitch your ideas slightly above that, but not too far above that).

Read the complete post by Clear Goal Media: How to define the target audience for your website?

Define Demographics and Psychographics

Inc. advices to define a target audience by looking at demographics (aspects related to the persons status and whereabouts) and psychographics (personal characteristics of a person).

Read the complete post by Inc. : How to Define Your Target Market

Think about demographic factors:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background

Think about psychographic factors:

  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behaviour

‘Determine how your product or service will fit into your target’s lifestyle. How and when will they use the product? What features are most appealing to them? What media do they turn to for information?  Do they read the newspaper, search online, or attend particular events?’ Inc.

Create Personas

Finally, another important step in making your target audience more real and being able to reach them on a more personal level is creating personas. Personas are a customised target audience. What it is you are actually naming your target audience segment and give them a personality. The idea of personas is to make your target audience more real and to give them a face with needs and characteristics.

Read more about Personas on: Raventools’ How to define your target audience the right way

Create 2 -3  personas for the target audience of the student diary cover.


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