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Stylescapes: Why should you be using them?

Updated: Jul 3

As designers, we are all guilty of wanting to start a new project by finishing the discovery call and jumping right into the design phase. If you know your client well, this might work out without any hiccups. You might also think you've nailed the design, but the client comes back with, "This is not the vision we had," or "But, I followed what they gave me on their mood board. Why don't they like the final design?" Communicating with your client is the key to any successful project. Using stylescapes is a way of translating your ideas to align with the client's expectations.

A mood board for a design project on Pinterest
Pinterest Mood Board

Stylescapes are like a mood board but with a more narrow field of vision. A mood board is a collection of images the client likes and helps designers with inspiration. A stylescape takes that information and arranges it in a way that starts to communicate the brand's identity and provokes feelings. A stylescape includes, but is not limited to, fonts, colors, imagery, patterns, and other assets that help convey the feel of the brand. I like to present 3-4 different stylescapes for each branding project, creating a "Goldilocks" range of options. This helps to narrow down ideas, allows me to try new things, and build on the brief.

Stylescape for a design project called Timberline Builds
Stylescape for Timberline Builds brand ID

Alternate Stylescape for Timberline Builds
Alternate Stylescape for Timberline Builds brand ID

Minimal, playful, courageous, and organic are all descriptive words that can get lost in translation. The client might think one thing while the designer might have a different idea of that meaning. Stylescapes present those abstract ideas to the client in a way both parties can understand, making the end goal more concise and clear. After the first round of stylescapes, I have a clear understanding of what the client has in their mind, and I can use what I learned to create the final stylescape.

Having a clear understanding of the end goal leads to the success of each project. Not only do stylescapes help achieve this, but they also give the client more opportunity to voice their opinion and ensure their needs are heard. This can save a lot of back-and-forth design revisions and time spent on designing mock-ups. It also builds a trusting relationship between the designer and the client, ultimately leading to the green light. Starting the final design project with a blueprint gets the client more excited about the final product, just like showing renders of a new home to potential builders.

Stylescape for Mrs. TK Valentine Brand ID
Stylescape for Mrs. TK Valentine brand ID

In conclusion, stylescapes are a great tool that designers can use to help interact with their clients, generate working ideas, and create the blueprint for a successful project. Utilize stylescapes on your next project and create long-lasting relationships with your next client.

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