Describing Aesthetic

Photo. A gray wrapped in red decorative ribbon on a white table.

Describing an aesthetic or graphic style is an important part of any creative project. In my Creative Process, I describe how to research client context then use light boxes and/or mood boards to learn how to best visually represent a client. Not only is this one of the most apparent parts of the creative process to the client, but research also shows that picking the right visuals can influence customers very strongly. For instance:

Using detailed and branded images can successfully capture the attention of 67% of viewers.

Sam Kusinitz, HubSpot

However, one word by itself rarely one capture an aesthetic. Instead, describe aesthetic as various points on a spectrum of graphic style.

Spectrum of Graphic Design Aesthetic

OutlineFlatCel ShadingGradients
AbstractFlatMaterial / Some Layers & DepthSkeuomorphic
1-ColorLimited PaletteFull-Color
Vector (Stylized)IllustrativePhotographic
SolidTransparency Blends
Low KeyHigh Key

Therefore, various adjectives and style descriptions are helpful to describe visual looks to clients. Additionally, they’re also a useful brainstorming tool when developing multiple creative proposals, because so many unique combinations of looks exist.

Happy styling!