How We Work: The Tone of Voice

Tone of Voice Board for Capricious Classics Design Challenge © 2016 Bova Creative (with credit to Sisters Gulassa for the painting in the lower right and to Clover Canyon and Leonard for the fashion images).

Tone of Voice Board for Capricious Classics Design Challenge © 2016 Bova Creative (with credit to Sisters Gulassa for the painting in the lower right and to Clover Canyon and Leonard for the fashion images).

We've said it before: we never start a project without knowing where we want to end up. Typically we are entrenched in client work and it's hard to share a current "tone of voice" board. This is a tool we have used in our work since we started. Before that we used them at the design firms where we worked. It's one of the hardest tasks to edit and complete with clarity of thought, but doing so serves as an invaluable communication tool and guide for the work which we are about to undertake. It visually defines the look and feel of the final design. If someone is new to the project, the design intent becomes clear when they see the Tone of Voice. If you've done it right, everything clicks. We take into consideration who we are designing for and how the end consumer will use or interact with our design. We don't start designing until we know where we want to land. Or as our friend and former colleague Marty Gage put it "If you can't define it, you can't design it.".

As a critical part of the design process our clients want us to keep this stuff under wraps until products and spaces are developed and launched. When the work is public, they usually just want to share the final product. The above is an unusual case where I developed a board for a design challenge we are participating in on the Textile Design Lab and Pattern Observer. The challenges we join keep us designing things we never imagined, which ultimately pushes us forward in both trend and design. Check back for a sneak peak at some of the designs we develop. Better yet, request a password to see the full collection and we'll put the designs to work for your next project.