As the world moves at a faster and faster rate, it feels like the focus has shifted from discovering the new, the authentic, and the creative to following the trend and churning out the work in search of the elusive ‘7 figures’ every self-made-insta-coach is raving on about. Movies are being re-made, trends are cyclical and music is remixed, or re-covered.
In the design industry, the most heartbreaking thing to see is the conveyor belt of on-trend logos being produced at bargain basement prices without a thought for the purpose or the communication strategies required to make the brand long-lasting and authentic.
So how in this virtually connected world of over-saturation and non-stop-scrolling can we find and focus on the authenticity and special niche of a brand to not only allow it to stand out from the crowd but connect with it’s audience in a memorable and emotive way. How can we stay true to our creative roots, and tap-into that 'big magic' without falling into the trap of emulating something we've seen. The secret is a combination of things.
Open up the narrative
Firstly getting the right answers from your customer/client is imperative. If you have a series of questions you are using to onboard a client that is a great start. This gets them thinking about their project on a deeper level, and they may have their own epiphanies along the way. Secondly, investigate further to get to know the person you are working with and in doing so figure out how much they already understand about the creative process, and the power of visual communication ( or whatever creative line you're in). Many of my first encounters with clients included “ I like this logo here can you re-make it with my name” or “ I like purple, so it must be purple”. The journey you go on to your creative resolution is also a journey for your client to understand your specific way of working and how a creative process works ( in many cases the customer isn't always right, but it's your job to make them think it was their idea all along).
Back to Basics, Do The Work
Secondly start on paper, the creative process is just that, a process. Start by sketching out ideas of what the first things that come into your mind are. Maybe a brainstorm/dump of words about the project to get your mind churning all these things together. The key here is staying away from digital distraction in this crucial phase.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” - Pablo Picasso
In the beginning of my creative process I write down the most obvious ideas for an icon or a logo design, then I try to push through to the less obvious and most surprising yet simple options. I sketch all these ideas roughly so they have been processed by my mind and I can move on to the development phase.
Give Yourself Enough Time and Space
When you are commercialising your creativity you need to allow time for the creative process. Just because the creation of a logo/ or creative piece was easy once doesn’t mean it will be the next time. You might have the best idea in the first minute or it may take days for lightning to hit. When I was starting out I didn’t charge enough time into my projects for this. I got overwhelmed with work and the quality started to suffer. We are not robots and as creatives we must allow the time for a walk on the beach, a shower, or reading in bed, so that the ‘light bulb moment’ can come. If we are constantly rushing or in overwhelm the brain will revert to survival mode or you will burn-out as many creatives before me will have learned.
So the next time you are commissioned to create something creative remember the CIP golden three. Communicate, do the work and give yourself time.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how you retain your creativity or what inspires you too ?