As a designer, it’s natural to want to jump right to the computer and start executing on a series of ideas. I did it in college and continued to do it during the first few years of my career. It’s not an easy habit to break and more often leads you down a rabbit hole of frustration and meaningless outcomes. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity of working under and alongside, what I would consider, some of the best creative minds out there. Over the years, they’ve instilled a new way of thinking and viewing challenges to create meaningful, evidence-based outcomes. At it’s core, it comes down to process. Through process, we are able to immerse ourselves not only in the problem we’re trying to solve, but our clients products, services, and industry, to effectively communicate and deliver time and time again.
I can’t stress this one enough. Listen to your gut, the world around you, your peers, your mentors and most of all, your clients. Being able to hear and interpret what your clients are trying to communicate, even when they’re not saying it, is vital. We naturally want to voice our ideas when we’re presented with a problem to solve. Being able pause and open your mind to the ideas of those around you will always yield a greater return. If you can’t listen, you can’t win for your team and you certainly can’t win for your clients.
Research – Phase 1
Always be two steps ahead. Research the heck out of your client’s products, services and industry. Become an expert (this should go without saying). Then take it one step further and become an expert in their competitors. Always know who you’re up against. Understand the way they communicate, how they’re positioned, and the way their brand is expressed (both visually and written). Your clients invested in you so you better invest in them.
Take everything you’ve learned, gathered, heard and seen and lay it all out. Whiteboards, post-it notes, doesn’t matter. Spend the time to conceptualize and come up with as many ways as possible to solve your clients challenge.
Research – Phase 2
Research design trends. Get inspired. This is where the excitement amplifies. Spend a day, two days, whatever it takes and start pulling together visuals, color palettes, textures, patterns, and anything else you can think of. This is an opportunity to explore materials and mediums and start to establish the look, feel and ways of bringing your ideas to life.
Sketch & Refine
The computer can still wait. It’s hard to resist now that your armed with the knowledge and inspiration you’ve gathered but it’s important to work through your ideas with pencil and paper. Refine them, reimagine them and sketch till you can’t sketch any more. You’d be surprised at how quickly and efficiently you can move through concepts and ideas as you begin to lock down your vision.
Think differently, think dimensionally, and think of ways to break the mold. Pay attention to the details and subtle nuances that create a deeper meaning and connection to the work. This your chance to prove to the client that you listened to them, you heard them and you invested in them. At REVERED, it’s the fundamental idea behind “ideas you can stand behind.”