Hi! I’ve been a designer for around 12 years so my technical ability is reasonable but I’m looking for a bit of advice/mentorship on the business/strategy/communication side. I recently started a new role as the only in-house graphic designer with a large automotive company. It’s a great company but has limited experience working with designers/marketing types which results in a large knowledge gap between departments that I want to bridge. One of the recurring pieces of feedback I receive when I present work to senior team members is that it is too intelligent for our customers who are simpler people, even when I have made designs as simple as I believe possible. When I push for specifics on what elements of the design they are referring to or how I can rectify it, they are unable to articulate their reasoning and it leaves me uncertain of how to continue with the project. Brand guides are virtually non-existent and offer very little assistance.
I think the best solution would be to arrange meetings or focus groups with the clients directly to determine who they are and what types of designs appeal to them, and that is something my company is open to, but I am uncertain what specific questions to ask them during these meetings. I want to understand them better so I can create designs which connect with them on an emotional level, but in order to achieve that I first need to understand who they are and what identity they are trying to express by using our products and services. I am wondering if there are any existing surveys or design examples I can give them to see what they like best, to help organise them into a framework that will help me understand who they are. There are a lot of personality tests like the Myers Briggs test, which categorise people into personality types based on their answers. I am wondering if there is something like that for design, which categorises people based on visual tastes. Has anybody here been through anything similar and can offer any recommendations?