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Most designers are very hard workers. We think through and create unique ideas, refine our ideas, and turn these ideas into compelling designs. This process takes a great deal of creative energy. Over the course of time we all produce a lot of work and a lot of ideas we create are never ultimately used by our clients. So what you do if you have more ideas than you can use, it's a good problem to have. So let me share a good creative habit with you, I like to call it Renewable Creative Energy.
I encourage you to establish a system system where you can start archiving your unused ideas and graphics. Whether they are sketches or Vector comps, I want you to put in place an easy way for you to file your unused designs and concepts for future reference. For my sketches, I have a simple folder I put unused sketches into, and for my Vector comps, I keep a folder on my computer that I can easily access and review.
The longer you work in the industry the more an archive like this may assist you on a future job. For example, you may create a handful of concepts for a client's logo project. And your client only ends up using one direction. The rest may be good concepts but they are now design orphans sitting on your hard drive collecting dust. Awhile later another client similar to the previous wants you to create an identity for their business and you're able to reuse one of the orphan designs.
So we're going to take a look at the folder that I keep on my computer and I just happened to name it Folder_of_Lost_ Ideas, and anytime I work on a project and I have a bunch of unused concepts, I'll usually copy that file and place it in this folder. That way I can go into this if I ever have another project that comes up that kind of aligns with another project I worked on previously. In this case, we're going to open up this Renewable_Creative_Energy file here and I'm going to walk you through kind of how the whole process of renewable creative energy can work.
Now years ago I had a very talented creative person give me some of the best advice I've ever gotten in 25 years and that is he said, you get the work you show. And that's proven to really be true for me. This is a project I worked on for a church up in the Pacific Northwest about four years ago. And as soon as I posted this on my site, I had other churches approach me about creating logo projects for them. I didn't set out to get this type of work, it's just kind of happened.
So it's all started with this project. The first church to contact me was one called Tapestry Church they are located out of California and this was one of the concepts that I presented to them. I created a bunch of other concepts and they actually went for another design direction but this was one of the ones that I created for them that I really liked. Now a little while later another church approach me, called Alive Church and I took that concept and retooled it to present to them and they loved it.
This is actually the design direction they went for their church and I created other secondary branding elements for them such as the banner graphic and the pattern design you can see here. Now when I created all the different design directions for Alive Church, I also created a direction that looks like this, it was a linear line type of modular system and they liked it, they just didn't think it was a good fit for where they wanted to go, but when another church contacted me called Hope Church, I turned that linear line project into one of the directions that I presented to them and they really liked this.
Another direction I presented to the Hope Church was this. Now they didn't go with this direction but I really like this direction. So when another church contacted me called The Place, I kind of reused that design direction to pitch to them. Now The Place, they liked this but they felt that it wasn't what they are trying to communicate. They would like to see some kind of graphic that was like a Broken Vessel and the Holy Spirit being poured into it. And I just happened to create a design direction on the Hope Church that looked like this but they didn't go for it so I showed this to The Place and they said, yeah that's kind of the direction we want but can you just retool the style, and so that's all I did.
I just took that general idea and created this final identity system for them, and you can also see the iconography that goes with that. So that's how one project can assist with the future project and how you can reuse assets. This is Renewable Creative Energy in action. Your creative process doesn't always have to re-create the wheel, and no, it's not a sin to rip yourself off either, rather it's just working smart.
Of course, I don't do this for all my projects but at times one client's needs will overlap another client's needs. So take the time to go through your past projects and harvest all of those unused ideas that may be a good fit for another client, and begin tapping into your own Renewable Creative Energy.
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