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Liesl Kadile: What's My Visual Design Process? tBR Person of the Week

Hey-O! My name is Liesl Kadile and I am a Design Manager at Educational Insights! My goal at this company is to make pretty fun things, and have fun doing it, of course!

I’m sure we can all agree that design should be driven by the end user, so a little research and a lot of empathy go a long way. I start my process of visual design by determining:

1 - What is it? (This question is often more difficult than it sounds.)

2 - Who is it for? (I mean, really, is this toy for a 3-year-old, or is it so mom can have an hour to herself?)

3 - Why do they want it? (Bait and switch! What is the point of differentiation?)

4 - How will they use it? (This includes EVERY step from opening the box to reading the instructions. Will the box become part of the play? Do the instructions really need words? What will make the experience more fun AND more pretty? Remember, pretty fun is always the goal.)

These questions need to be answered as simply as possible and, ideally, without words because people aren’t going to read something unless they first “see” that they want it. This process is similar to a marketing strategy determining product, price, place, and promotion, but from a visual standpoint.

Here is a recent example of a released product where I used these concepts:

1 - What is it? The logo and packaging covers this: Zoomigos are fast animal friends that use gears to go!

2 - Who is it for? Children ages 3 plus; even if you didn’t see the numbers on the packaging, the colorful logo and sweet character faces communicate this.

3 - Why do they want it? Because it’s pretty fun! But really, if the packaging was not pretty and fun, would they even look for a point of differentiation? They want this product because, unlike other pump and go products, Zoomigos can be removed from their vehicle, and their clear legs give kids insight into how gears work!

4 - How will they use it? PUMP, SET, GO!

I pull these concepts into art direction for photoshoots, video animations, and marketing campaigns as well. Here is a recent campaign for Playfoam Pluffle where I focused on ultra clean, colorful visuals to turn up the clicks and engagement (and yes, the goal was once again to make it pretty and make it fun):

Sometimes it’s a bit more complicated than these sweet, simple, colorful examples, though. One project that has been my main focus for about a year now is Circuit Explorer, which I worked on in collaboration with Joey Lopez. Due to the nature of the product (circuits!), it took me a longer time to answer my essential questions. However, in the end I was able to create a simple logo, clear branding, and a package design that communicates WHAT, WHO, WHY, and HOW, all with a simple line of copy. And Joey came through IN STARS[AL1] , making a PRETTY and FUN instructional guide that is light on language and clear on function. In fact, we were nominated for Art & Design Visuals of the Year by People of Play, and if you think our work is pretty fun, please swing by and vote for us!

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