Colordance Design

Conceptual Design – A Framework

Ever wondered why so many people take the time to frame a piece of artwork?  For practical reasons a frame protects a print from damage. Yet, framing also serves a more fundamental purpose. It bounds, organizes, unifies, defines, and differentiates one composition from another. Even in the case of a canvas, the taunt edges of the plywood stretcher, invisible to the eye, function as a border to accent and draw one’s focus to the art.

No Frame = Chaos

Picture for a minute (no pun intended) a large wall hung with artwork. What if all the compositions were missing frames?  It would be challenging to decide where to look first. You might notice the wrinkles, imperfections, and torn edges of several prints as everything competes for your attention. It would be easy to become visually overwhelmed by the chaos, and turn away, potentially missing valuable information and visual treasures.

George Catlin, White Cloud Head of the Iowas 1844

Consider why so many homeowners spend time fixing up their house before placing it on the market for sale.  They understand their home needs a “frame” to enhance its curb appeal to best position it in the competitive real estate market. If the paint is peeling and the landscaping is overgrown, prospective buyers will notice those details rather than focus on the assets of the house.

Effective framing is evident in George Catlin’s painting of White Cloud, Chief of the Iowas 1844.  The portrait of the proud warrior is framed with a simple, solid black frame matching his black headband.  Thus, the frame serves its purpose. It encourages the viewer to continue examining the chief’s regalia in more detail.

Concept Impacts Profits

Just as a picture frame defines and structures a composition, a consistent conceptual business identity connects your target audience with your business messaging. A conceptual theme acts as a picture frame (in both in print and media applications) to imprint your business in your viewer’s minds. You want your business to be recognized and stand out, so repeating your identity consistently throughout your promotional materials matters.

Small business owners and non profit organizations may be unaware of the importance of a “picture frame” and how that impacts their financial bottom line.  Like a picture frame, conceptual design organizes, unifies, differentiates, and defines one business from another. A conceptual design contains specific components to reinforce a business identity in your viewer’s mind. These elements include an iconic brandmark/logo, color scheme, graphic elements, layout, and type treatment. Repeated consistently throughout your print and media applications this “framing” makes your target audience remember you. Furthermore,  conceptual design instills a sense of trust as your organization appears solid, structured, and dependable.

Small business owners and non profit organizations may unknowingly settle for less than optimum website solutions or print advertising collateral. Their marketing materials reflect a “helter skelter” approach by implementing one look for their business cards,  a second for their signage, a third for a website, and so on.   The lack of a consistent, well thought through conceptual design hinders their ability to connect with their audience. In effect you “stand in your own way” using ad hoc design.  This impacts audience participation and bottom line profits with your business.

What’s the solution? Take the time to work with a graphic designer to develop an overall visual identity strategy. Effective framing with conceptual design adds the finishing touch, the extra flourish, and the creative pizzazz to keep your viewer’s engaged.

By the way,  are you fascinated with Native American culture? Then take a peak at Midwest SOARRING Foundation’s redesigned site.


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