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Developing Ideas and Design Concepts
Illustration by John Hersey

Honing your ideas


From:

Developing Ideas and Design Concepts

with Craig Smallish

Video: Honing your ideas

When we use the free association strategy, there'll be times when concepts just seem to fall into your lap. When they don't we'll need to coax them out through applying a little imagination and sketching. Like the storytelling strategy we've used previously, composing concepts from a stash of free association material, we'll involve some playful thought process to make sense of the many phrases and descriptions. This is when the notes and sketch images we created earlier can, again, help shed light on, on tap potential.
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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

Honing your ideas

When we use the free association strategy, there'll be times when concepts just seem to fall into your lap. When they don't we'll need to coax them out through applying a little imagination and sketching. Like the storytelling strategy we've used previously, composing concepts from a stash of free association material, we'll involve some playful thought process to make sense of the many phrases and descriptions. This is when the notes and sketch images we created earlier can, again, help shed light on, on tap potential.

Viewing the material we created with free association is a bit like looking at a jigsaw puzzle after it's been dumped out of the box. We've got bits and pieces here and there. Like any puzzle, it'll take a little effort to put it together, examining each piece, figuring out how each fits and where it might go. There's a big difference, however. Free-association puzzles can be assembled many different ways, creating many different solutions. It's up to us as the creatives, to fit those pieces together in a way that we feel produces the most intrigue, it still makes the most sense.

To get a feel for the process, we'll try a scaled-down example so we can get a sense of how to look at the free-association material. We'll be looking at it to see if and how it can be expanded on and of course. To make sure it relates back to our clients product somehow. As we sift through the notes and sketches it can be helpful to ask ourselves some questions. Have we looked at the subject matter from multiple angles? Is there anything about the subject matter that has some relationship to our product.

Can we possibly build some type of little story around it? If so, how might that story evolve? And, how might that story convey our message? Like the strategies we've used previously, this process also involves storytelling and it's a great way to explore the potential. Looking back at some of the notes and sketches from the floor cleaner example we worked with earlier, let's see if we can find some additional ideas that we may have missed that first time around.

As we make our way through the material, it's very important to try and expand on the individual pieces. All the while keeping the floor cleaner in mind as a key contextual reference. In looking for related content, and imagining those mini-stories. Sketch them as you imagine them. Again, stick-figure drawing is perfectly fine. For instance, when I consider the free association phrase, ice hockey championship. On the surface, I might think to myself how does that even relate? But, as I expand on that thought, I imagine how the game of hockey takes place on ice.

It's slick, it's slippery, it's even shiny. And now, a mental image can begin to appear. Quick sketching through the process will help visualize the potential of an idea. (NOISE) And then, I'm imagining a mom wielding her mop like a hockey stick. And she's daydreaming, she's a hockey player.

She's so caught up in this moment she can even hear the crowd cheering her name. Suddenly, she's forced back into reality as it turns out to be her kids screaming with joy as they come home from school. Hm, maybe the story would have a more unique twist if it featured a stay at home dad. Now, some of the stuff we work on will have more potential than others. Regardless, we should consider every combination. Keep in mind, there will be trial and error.

In time, we'll be able to look at the pieces of any free association puzzle, construct those mental images. Sketch stories in our mind and eventually evolve them in the rough sketches that'll communicate our idea through image.

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