• Ian Rohan

CASE STUDY: 210 PSYCHIATRY & PSYCHOTHERAPY // The Importance of the Design Brief

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Design is subjective.

Your perception of visual design, what you see as friendly or foreign, what makes you more or less comfortable doing business with the people behind a storefront or a marketing campaign, is absolutely and complexly opinionated — no matter who you are or how much you think you don’t know about any of it. Your version of “good” has been molded by the VHS cover of your favorite childhood film, the bumper sticker on the truck that cut you off yesterday, the menu at your first job that you hated, and the jersey colors of your favorite sports team.

I have my own set of passionate opinions about “good” design, and I’m more influenced by mathematic balance and the technical side of graphics creation than most people, but in the end I do only have opinions. If you hand me money and ask for a “good design,” I’ll create something that matches my taste — and it will be technically impressive and I’ll probably love it, but you may walk away disappointed.


I do not know what’s in your imagination.

If you’re passionate enough about realizing your specific taste to pay good money for it, you deserve to see it happen! This is the purpose of the design brief, the foundation of all collaborative design work, and it’s exemplified by the gold medal-wearing easiest client I’ve ever worked for, Sean Huckleberry of 210 Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.

Sean got in touch with a simple problem and extremely specific parameters for fixing it: his new medical practice had no logo, he wanted the “210” to stand out prominently, and he wanted to ground his branding in the locally familiar visuals of San Antonio, like their retro basketball team colors and their skyscraper skyline.

And instead of weeks or months of repeated concepts and revisions, my first design went unedited as 210P&P’s new logo, rolled out less than twenty-four hours after I first spoke with Sean.

So when you get in touch, you can tell me as much or as little as you like — but saved time and money are the direct results of me seeing your vision clearly from day one.

If you’re a business — what aspect, emotional or practical, of your business do you want to emphasize? What logos inside or outside of your industry communicate a similar vibe to yours? Alternately, what do the logos of your local competitors look like so I can maximize the uniqueness of yours?

If you’re a musician — what’s your album about? What albums inspired your style? What visual art outside the world of music draws your eye? And what do your other album covers look like, so I can ensure your new cover doesn’t clash with your existing body of work?

If you’re anyone at all — what are your favorite colors? What’s the interior design style of your home? Are you drawn to grunge or to clean minimalism? What’s your favorite natural environment? And, of course, what budget and timeline are you working with?

If you need graphics — what’s in your imagination?