The most important step should always come first: start with a concept
After my last post about mind mapping, I thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts on concept.
Concept is that idea and purpose behind your design. It’s the underlying theme that holds your campaign or design elements together. I think of concept as the reason for design choices and tone, and the driving force behind overall direction. Some think that concept is a way to hinder creativity or that they feel caged and restricted. Actually its the opposite. Starting with concept gives you the freedom to find your design solution without getting stuck mid-way, trying to refine your direction. Instead, if you begin with concept, if you get stuck or need to refine creative direction, the concept will be there for you to fall back on, informing your refining all the way.
How to come up with concept
Concept can be influenced by your client’s needs, competitors, voids in the market, etc., but it should always be central to the construction of your design.
To find your concept:
- You can mind map
- You can create idea clouds
- And you can be creative and explore what works best for you.
Again, the point is to take the time to cultivate your concept. It really will pay off in the end. If you remember this, as I recently wrote in a paper for my teacher at the Art Institute, “you’ll have no problem finding your own design success, and living the life that your passion and hard work will surely achieve for you”.
If you don’t, you’re hurting yourself
Imagine beginning a project… working on it and creating assets… finding pattern swatches and color themes… then realizing that although all of those elements work well together, and even look good on the screen or printed together, they do not speak to your intended audience, or don’t mesh well with your customers product or sales push. Then realize that all of your hard work was useless, and must be redone. A realization like that could be heart-breaking! I wouldn’t wish such a painful experience and loss of time and momentum on any of my colleagues. I’d love to see them emerge victorious, with designs that meet the needs of their clients and please the eye. So I stand firm on the idea that concept comes first. And I recommend that you take some time to develop one before you begin you next project too.