Creative Communication

Seven steps of creative communication:

The Blank Workspace. This is most possibly the hardest and most ominous part of a project. If you're not already fired up about a project or your stuck on which route you should take, the blank workspace turns into a nerve racking place. This is true for illustrators, designers, photographers, interior designers, industrial designers or anyone that thinks creative. Many have said sketching helps free the mind and open up concepts. Don't think of it as "This has to be done now or I will hurt my reputation, my cash-flow & the client". Think of it as "the beginning".

Ideation. When done correctly this should be completely unharnessed and free–flowing. Thinking about cows with purple poka–dots that are flying cheese pinwheels? Great. Get it out of your head and onto paper, a sketchbook or something that helps you and move on to another idea. Ideation should be sheer creativity, whether it's silly, cheesy, creepy or just way out there. You can dial it down later.

Information Gathering / Project Debrief. This is where you obtain the most complete and concise ideas about the project. It's a good idea to have a set list of questions to ask the client/contact person so you don't forget anything and you obtain all the information that you will need later. It's better to ask everything possible and get some extraneous information then to find out later that you didn't get enough info or record it accurately and then re–ask the client for things they already told you.

Investigation & Research. Google, Yahoo, Bing it, read it, search for it, tear it apart, dissect, LEARN. Do as much scraping as you can on the topic. Be it silly clip–art, logos, descriptions, definitions or some other stuff people have done. Learn what's there on the subject and expand into your own version and what's effective. You're the vehicle for the message. Make sure you don't muddy the waters in the process. Note: Expand into your own version does not mean copy/paste, re–create or repurpose someone else's work.

Brainstorming / Problem Solving. You have the scope of the project, your ideas that you jotted down or sketched out and all of your investigative research. What happens now? You have to put it together. You've got to tie all this into one great, creative entity so whoever consumes it understands exactly what you are talking about. This isn't about finding new ideas, it's about harnessing the ideas you've already made and then putting them together as something useful.

Explaining the Visual. This is the lost art of explaining a message without spelling it out. If you're working on a design does it actually do something functionally? i.e. Does it make the audience draw their own conclusion? Does the brochure help the user understand the client/topic? Does the site help someone gain information and was it easy? Does your logo solve or help identify the brand? Does your illustration support the rest of the project?
Or... Did you just jazz something up and make it pretty because "you're a creative" and that's what we do? We don't just make things pretty, we solve problems and make it easier to digest and use. If you're making decisions based on prettification and not function, maybe the heart of your message is off. All creative focus on presentation & communication. Whether it's through web, print, photography, installations, physical objects, copyrighting, illustrations or anything of the sort.

Longevity. This one is tough. Timeless is near impossible and some tweaks will always be made throughout the years. If you creatively solved a problem and tried to make something that effectively communicates to your audience it should be able to grow with your client. Do they need to make some updates along the way? Sure. Who doesn't. Do you see your endeavors lasting them for 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? I know that is hard to think of now since twitter, facebook & youtube aren't even "that" old. Look at some big brands and how their branding hasn't fluctuated too much. Apple, Coke and Nike are just a few that have stayed true to their core branding and just made some slight modifications throughout the years. Have you effectively supplied your client with the tools to grow and expand in the future or did you hinder them in the process?