Strategic Adjectives


When in the beginning stages of a design, I recommend using descriptive words before you settle on colors and imagery.

First, identify your ideal audience. Who are you talking to? Give the person a name and a story. What do you have to offer this person? Can you solve a problem, make life easier, increase happiness or health, or instigate a transformation?

Now, how do you want your ideal customer to feel about your organization? What makes you different from others in your category? How will you connect with your desired audience? What’s your story?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin designing.

The following list of words can help get the strategy session flowing. Each word has a color palette associated with it. I have listed the words in pairs of opposites. Notice that all of the words are positive.

cool :: warm
crisp :: lush
delicate :: robust
stable :: dynamic
traditional :: innovative
classic :: fresh
calm :: aggressive
relaxing :: exciting
sophisticated :: rugged
playful :: scientific
simple :: complex
organic :: engineered
sweet :: spicy
majestic :: humble
pure :: experienced
passionate :: clinical
credible :: spiritual

I have developed a deck of cards that has words on one side and color palettes on the other. I actually use this deck—called Stradjectives™—when I begin a design project. A complimentary deck is your gift when you hire me for a branding project.

Studio 2D