How do I create a look & feel?
I'd like to first say that I have attempted to look through Google to find the answer to this though surprisingly, I get more about 'what' it is than 'how' to create a look & feel.
I was a writer up until I began to explore and complete courses in Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. I have worked in advertising for five years as a copywriter.
I now offered my visual services to my boss. He said, 'Feel free to create a look & feel for any existing project so we can assess the level of your expertise.'
I have not been exposed to this process. What would I go over? Selection of font for a brand? Colour palette? And what formats should I present the formation of these in? A4 print? Billboard examples?
I'd like to be able to apply myself and the skills that I have. I have executed art direction and design work for clients before but have never done a look & feel.
I would like to be able to approach him with a sense of conviction and show him confidently the elaborate and careful construction of an impressive look & feel.
Look and feel is a brand thing
Your visual decisions should not only be based on information architecture but an essence, a personality that's unique the brand in question.
Your first steps should have nothing to do with execution. No type, colors, images, graphics. That will come later as a logical extension of the brand.
- Project data
- Fuzzy impressions
- Aspirational adjectives
- Random associations
Pretend the brand you're dealing with is a person ... or maybe some cuddly animal. Maybe it's a middle aged guy. Build a personality around him. Picture him in your mind. Now you can start to imagine what visual cues would tell his story.
Is he sort of prickly or welcoming?
Would he wear purple?
Is he more of a circle or a square?
Cutting edge or classic?
Does he prefer Frutiger or Univers?
Would he hang out in the woods or a sleek interior?
How's that for ambiguous? That's the magic of the creative process! ;)
I've recommended A Technique for Creating Ideas before. It applies here again. That's how you fill your head with the material to accurately describe your character.
How do you present a concept
You need to take your audience into consideration. For starters, look into the concept of "mood boards", if you're not familiar with them. I typically collect all my research and sketches (my mood boards) in Evernote.
For a casual client who likes to keep things sort of one on one, I might just pull out my tablet and flip through my Evernote notebook with them.
For less casual environments, I pull all of that information into a structured, carefully paced PDF that I run through on a big screen or the tablet again, depending on the situation. If it's in person, I usually print it out too so they can flip through the info later. For remote presentations, I share my screen over Google+.
For a very formal client, I compile it all onto black matte board that I flip through as a I present. Some clients like the pass the boards around. I prefer to keep them up front with these types of teams. They're usually the most insecure and like to pick things apart ;)
What would I go over? Selection of font for a brand? Colour palette?
Once all of that is considered, you then must consider the technical aspects of output. Output aspects can vary.
Essentially, you are asking how to be a designer. Much like being a writer, there is a great deal to understand and learn. Some take to it naturally, others may have to focus on specific areas to improve. And just as many writers attend college to learn the aspects of writing, many designers attend college to learn the aspects of design. It's generally not something one can do well by simply having the desire. It's not rocket science, but it's not like folding paper airplanes either.
And what formats should I present the formation of these in?
That's up to you, really. But if you are reworking a 5x7" ad, then present a 5x7" ad.
"look and feel" is generally more about branding. Branding needs to remain consistent across all pieces. Same typefaces, logo, color palette, etc.