I keep seeing Art Directors, Designers and even Writers go straight to the computer as soon a they get briefed on something. Now, if you don’t see what’s wrong with that, please keep reading.
There’s a HUGE difference between a design and a concept. I’m not saying a pretty design cannot have a solid concept behing it, but I can tell you that if you go straight to the computer, you probably don’t have any big ideas behind that pretty design of yours.
Check this out.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.’
This applies to advertising. When you get briefed, spend as much time as you can finiding things about your product, learn as much as you can about it, determine what the problem is, then find out what people think about it and try to connect the dots. Your big idea will be born from key insights, and the way to find those insights is to research and analyze your findings.
Here are some steps to consider:
1- Get Briefed: Ask tons and tons of questions.
2- Research: Find everything you can about your product.
3- Get it out of your system: Write everything and anything that comes to mind. You should also doodle. Don’t be selective, just put it on paper.
4- Talk about it: Discuss your ideas/doodles with your partner. Having a brainstorm buddy help a lot.
5- Be selective: Now that you have tons of ideas, narrow them down to your best ones. Showing a million ones makes you look insecure about your work. Use your instincts and pick the ones YOU like most.
6- Sketch it all out: Have a game plan before goign to the computer. If you know exaclty what you’re looking for, you’ll spend less time figuring it out while surfing in the internet.
7- Execute: By the time you get to this point, you already gathered so much information and found tons of resources that will help you design AND sell you idea to your CD then to the client.
It really bugs me when I see someone spend hours and hours designing an ad, or making 77 versions of it for internal meetings so that their CD can pick one to move forward with.
Here’s the cold hard truth. Your CD (if he’s any good) will be more interetsed in the thought you put behind your designs, as opposed to how many designs you did or how much time you spent doing them. Don’t fall into the habit of spending hours in front of the computer, or staying until 2am at work to show that you “work hard”. It’ll come back and bite you in the butt. This is a general rule: IDEAS RULE THE WORLD. A pretty design or 77 designs would NOT be appreciated or effective if there’s no idea behind them.
Spend more time thinking and less time executing.