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Developing Ideas and Design Concepts
Illustration by John Hersey

Avoiding the pitfalls of mediocrity


From:

Developing Ideas and Design Concepts

with Craig Smallish

Video: Avoiding the pitfalls of mediocrity

Some of the greatest threats to our creativity lurk in our own subconscious in the form of cliches. Mediocre aproaches that have been done a thousand times over. The minute I say floor polish commercial or an ad for car tires, images are likely to pop in our head. Predictably, the majority of us will have very much the same image in our mind. That's because they're cliche. And while I'm hesitant to quote Webster, because that's a cliche.
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  1. 8m 45s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. The importance of the original idea
      2m 50s
    3. What is concepting?
      2m 4s
    4. Demystifying "the process" in the creative process
      2m 39s
  2. 8m 48s
    1. Working with clients
      4m 14s
    2. Defining the project
      3m 0s
    3. Defining the project obstacles
      1m 34s
  3. 7m 44s
    1. Doing your research
      2m 22s
    2. Avoiding the pitfalls of mediocrity
      3m 28s
    3. What is a concept plan overview?
      1m 54s
  4. 11m 2s
    1. Using storytelling to determine core values
      3m 33s
    2. Using questions to distill the core values
      3m 46s
    3. Determining core values
      3m 43s
  5. 8m 59s
    1. Using the free-association process
      3m 39s
    2. Starting with seed phrases
      2m 55s
    3. Using the power of collaboration to increase ideas
      2m 25s
  6. 9m 48s
    1. Honing your ideas
      4m 20s
    2. Reviewing your descriptive words and sketches to find the best ideas
      2m 29s
    3. Experimenting with your ideas
      2m 59s
  7. 8m 2s
    1. Maintaining a diversity of ideas
      1m 0s
    2. Using search engines to fuel ideas
      4m 50s
    3. The rough concept retrospect
      2m 12s
  8. 9m 48s
    1. Defining the rough sketch
      4m 34s
    2. Visually defining your ideas
      2m 57s
    3. The strength of iteration
      2m 17s
  9. 5m 16s
    1. What is 180-degree thinking?
      2m 46s
    2. Demonstrating the approach
      2m 30s
  10. 9m 29s
    1. Defining the revised sketch
      3m 25s
    2. Demonstrating the approach
      3m 46s
    3. The importance of exploring variation (perspective, media selection, and stylistic approaches)
      2m 18s
  11. 6m 36s
    1. Defining the refined sketch
      2m 23s
    2. Demonstrating the concern for detail
      4m 13s
  12. 5m 3s
    1. Revealing the final concept "comp" solution
      3m 19s
    2. Reflecting on the process path
      1m 44s

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Developing Ideas and Design Concepts
1h 39m Appropriate for all Aug 16, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

After landing a client, the designer's first chore is to communicate and develop the initial idea, whether it's a storyboard for a film or ad, or a multifaceted marketing campaign for a product or service. Learn how to transform a client's request into a presentable concept in this course. Craig Smallish walks through the development process for various creative scenarios, from assessing the client and the scope of the job to free-associating and sketching your ideas. Learn to create descriptive copy to accompany your visuals and create iteration after iteration of your design. Finally, Craig shows how to choose your strongest idea through a process of refinement.

Topics include:
  • What is concepting?
  • Working with clients
  • Doing your research
  • Determining the core values of a product or service
  • Using free association
  • Building the written descriptives
  • Using search engines to fuel ideas
  • Flipping your ideas 180 degrees
  • Creating a rough sketch
  • Defining the refined sketch
Subjects:
Design Design Skills Design Business
Author:
Craig Smallish

Avoiding the pitfalls of mediocrity

Some of the greatest threats to our creativity lurk in our own subconscious in the form of cliches. Mediocre aproaches that have been done a thousand times over. The minute I say floor polish commercial or an ad for car tires, images are likely to pop in our head. Predictably, the majority of us will have very much the same image in our mind. That's because they're cliche. And while I'm hesitant to quote Webster, because that's a cliche.

The reason we're all likely to think of the same image is that our media has become saturated with the overly familiar and common place. To say I've never fallen prey to it myself would be a lie as there's no sure way to keep a cliche out of your head once you've started working on a project. In fact, it's understandable to rely on an approach that's been used time and time again because there's a certain security when you think to yourself. Well, it's worked in the past, sure it'll work again.

The big glitch with relying on the security of a cliche is they're generally not the most creative nor the most effective at delivering your message. Surprisingly, the best way to steer clear of cliches is not to ignore them but to acknowledge those two ton cliches in the corner and here's why. First, we should examine the cliches to identify how commonplace they are and to examine why the competition maybe even use them.

Why does it work for them? Could something else have worked better? Second, we might brainstorm to see if we can find a quirky variation or parody of the typical cliche that could, in turn, launch a great concept. Don't get me wrong, cliches is going to work exceptionally well. But if you're going to consider using one, it had better be a fresh approach. It's kind of like remaking a classic movie. The new version should offer something fresh and exciting, otherwise, why do it? So, let's think for a moment.

Our client connectical is a provider of natural energy solution. Slow panning shots of pristine wind farms, sunlight glimmering over a flowering meadow and happy children blowing dandelion seeds into the wind. See any cliches? Well, we've certainly seen this type of imagery before and we probably will again. But does it work? Even if it does, is it really the best concept solution? These are good questions that we won't know the answer to until we take some calculated risks and explore all the options.

Without taking those risks we're just not going to achieve a level of originality or creativity that will get the message out most effectively for our client. Taking calculated risks is never easy. But we can take some of the gamble out of the equation by establishing a sound creative process that can flush out a variety of ideas and also validate our concept. That validation will be extremely important when it comes time to educate our client. That the innovative or edgy idea we just presented to them is the absolute way to deliver the message to their audience.

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