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I am at an impass with a client and I also don't have the answer so I would really appreciate your thoughts and if possible, proof like research papers etc.

My client targets user segments B and C. He tells me my design targets segment A. So B and C won't like/use it. He wants something more colorful, exploding, popping out. (A is high income and C is working class). I beileve that good design is universal and it is not possible to have a better design and worse sales/marketing.

What do you think?

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    Though you are asking about a design in this question, it seems more appropriately asked in the User Experience stack. In this case, you're asking about demographics and you/your client would benefit from using Personas in your design strategy. This also seems a bit more like a discussion topic and not so much a question that can be objectively answered. In my opinion, your design should center around a persona or handful of personas to achieve a better user-centered customer experience. – ErnestoPresto May 25 '16 at 20:00
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Design should without a doubt consider the target audience. It should be one of the main factors in your whole process.

I beileve that good design is universal

To an extent, yes—but design needs to be fit for purpose. What is good design for one situation isn't necessarily good for another.

Take for example the branding for an event. Is this a high end corporate conference or a local charity event aimed at families and children? Most likely the design for either would be unsuitable for the other.

For your specific situation it's hard to tell without seeing anything but it may not necessarily be bad design or unsuitable, it may just not be what the client had in mind and was expecting. If you can rationalize your design, the process, function and outcome then do that and convince the client. Otherwise you may just have to chalk it up to miscommunication and work closer to what your client expects.

It's worth keeping in mind that some clients will know exactly what they want, and that will sometimes be something very bad—it's your job to explain to your client why it is bad and rationilze a good solution.

  • I do agree with your client perspective. But what about the user. Is it possible that they wouldn't like or use a well designed and elegant website (i mean good in the eyes of most designers). – Ömer Karışman May 25 '16 at 19:43
  • If the target audience don't like it, it isn't well designed, simple as that. What most designers would consider well designed in one situation may not be suitable (read well designed) for another audience. – Cai May 25 '16 at 19:46

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