Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to be Creative Without Trying So Hard

"Make it pop."
"Make it really stand out from the rest."
"Make it exciting."
"Make it creative."

There are many ways of saying it, but everyone wants their project to be noticed, taken seriously, and remembered. The question is not does it look good, but does it communicate the intended message in an unexpected manner and still look good.

Here's how to do this painlessly. (Well, almost painless.)

  1. First, understand the details.
    1. Know who the audience is: what they can tolerate, what they reject, what they expect, why they should care.
    2. Learn more about the messenger (client): what they can tolerate, what they reject, what they expect, why do they want to share this message.
    3. Explore the message itself: how will it impact the audience, what is it saying, why does it need to be said, what does the client want to communicate, in what format, and what do they expect to happen as a result.

  2. Understand how the details create natural restrictions.
    1. If the audience is over 50, and working mothers then this restricts the types of visuals and formats that they would best respond to.
    2. Following, the client (messenger) may be family-oriented, and want to reach out to these mothers in a particular manner. This further defines the role design will play.
    3. Last, the message itself has to be considered. If it is a website advertising a software package that helps moms organize, this further defines the scope of design approaches.

  3. Use the restrictions as margins for solutions, and explore the possibilities within that structure.
    1. Play within the sandbox. Structure is great for decision-making. Now you have a framework to actually explore viable possibilities.
    2. Use a pencil, pen, and paper to quickly explore several ideas. Doodle your way through the problem.
    3. Explore the opposite of what you are trying to achieve, and see if you are missing something, or it lends itself to an entirely new approach.
    4. Don't be afraid of clichés. They can contribute to innovative approaches if you play with them enough.
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