What is too corporate?

Hi all,

Can anyone shed some light on how they would go about making a design look less corporate so as not to alienate the consumer? In this case its people over the age of 40 and with depression, anxiety, sociophobia etc...

I have been asked to complete a brochure highlighting the benefits of a NHS funded organisation that will help people with these problems, and the client does not want it too polished or corporate for fear of frightening potential service users away through the design of the brochure.

Cheers guys
I tend to find that clients will use the words 'less corporate' to mean that they want it to look more homely and warm. Look at warmer colours and softer fonts to add a caring edge. What the client means is they want the product to say 'were a professional outfit but were small enough to give a s**t about you'.

Hope that makes sense.

Difficult one to define (a bit like 'smart casual').

Move away from NHS speak and more to end user speak. Talk in real terms, factual with reality.
Public sector vocab can be far removed from the target audience.

Communicate in easy to understand language, allowing glance through understanding with more in depth if desired.

Select relevant images.
Brainstorm it (if only to yourself). Without thinking very hard about it, I get:

Corporate = Large, impersonal, inaccessible, commercial, profit-oriented, uncaring...


Less corporate = Human in scale, personal, accessible, non-materialist, altruistic, caring...

So bigdave and Minuteman both say sensible things, as usual.
I'd say that 'corporate', in design terms, is generally neat, tidy, sober and conservative: the sort of thing that's targetted at a business audience.
for me corporate is technical, black and white, sharp edges etc.
everything else - not corporate - i agree softer edges, more images of people, colors..
Here is how you do it

One way of making a design feel less corporate and more friendly is to simply use illustration rather than photos, or mix in a bit of illustration with the photography.

This is almost a sure fire way of stopping a design from looking hard and corporate. I'm not talking about silly childish looking cartoons, as this goes too far in the other direction - business-like illustrative fare.

Indeed I saw a website today that very much impressed me and I think is a great example of what I refer to. It displays a wonderful balance of 'professional' yet 'small and friendly' due to it's use of illustration in the design; PR Agency Digital Marketing | Cheshire, Staffordshire

Hope that helps :)