The Briefing The first step is to clearly identify what you are being asked to do through discussion. The key here is to simplify what it is you are trying to achieve to its rawest form. What is the desired outcome and what are the deliverables. This is your opportunity to ask questions. As whatever questions come to mind, however stupid and childlike they may seem Ask them! Without these childlike questions who know when and if the Polaroid camera would have ever been invented. On a family trip Edwin Land snapped an a photo of his daughter who asked to see the photo he had just taken. After explaining he need to take the camera home and develop the film and print it out his daughter effectively said “That’s stupid. Why can’t I see the photos instantly?” Land set out to make an instant camera…the Polaroid. How this is relatable in everyday design life: Meetings meetings meetings, sometimes as designers in can feel like our day is taken up by meetings, conference calls and these days Zoom calls. Use this time speaking with others wisely. While you may be eager to get going on the project your goal should be to get as much out of these meetings as possible and ask questions that will help you down the line. You will never get this time or initial opportunity to outline the goals again. Once work has began you will need to rely on feedback to get closer to the final design solution but how cool would it be to be starting from a position where you have loads of information to go on. This means the first draft to present to either the client or Creative Director has an excellent chance of being closer to what they are looking for.
Analyse The Challenge Read the brief, then read it again the reread it! You need to be able to unpick the brief and decipher what the goal is, what is the purpose of the job and what message are you trying to communicate? Consider the target audience and how best to strike a cord with them. At this point you should have a clear idea of the challenge and what the deadline is. How this is relatable in everyday design life: Understanding a brief is a key part of your working life. Being able to do this quickly and effectively is hugely important to the design process. Run through the brief, highlight key parts and ensure you have the correct interpretation of them. Maybe highlight 15-20 key parts of the brief then reduce it to 15 words, then 10 and finally if you can reduce the brief to 5 key words that give you direction then this will make things a lot clearer for you.
First Ideas Get your first ideas down on paper, on notes or anywhere that is not in your head. These first ideas and thoughts that come to mind are your reflex ideas, they are intuitive and instinctive and no matter how daft they seem you need to get them out. 1 in 100 times your first idea will be brilliant and even a winner. How this is relatable in everyday design life: Use either a pen and paper or like I do the notes on your phone to put down every single idea you have. My phone is full of random ideas, buzzwords and names of other designers whose style may fit the particular problem. Loads of stuff won't make sense, you might look back at it and think what the fuck was I thinking about when I wrote that? but hopefully it will trigger another line of thought and generate more ideas.
Visualisation Put your ideas down on paper. Sketch, doodle and draw out your ideas How this is relatable in everyday design life: Im a terrible drawer, my handwriting is shit and I hate writing things down. Hence why I use the notes on my phone so much however it is really important to get ideas down on paper. They may give you an early indication into if an idea will work or not but they will also lead to other ideas.
Know the subject / Know the product Do your homework, know the facts and get the essence of the brief. This is your chance to go off on a tangent and explore strange avenues. Have fun with this, this is where you creative brain kicks in. Your thought process here should give you a personal and thorough understanding of your subject. How this is relatable in everyday design life: As much as you would love to think you will be working on projects that you will really passionate about, the reality is 80% of the projects you have will not be on a subject you are interested in. I would love all my projects to be on boxing, music and football and sometimes they are but mostly they are for things I have no interest in. The important thing here is to get interested in them. If you show no passion and no understanding of the subject then this will come across in your work. You hear people saying "fake it til you make it" the key here is to make it and then fake it. Graphic Design is all about seeing what you can get away with, you need to convince the audience that you are as passionate about these awesome storage boxes as they should be.
The A-Z of Visual Ideas: How to Solve any Creative Brief.
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