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The first conceptual thinking method is Word Associations. Now we have all done this to one degree or another. You pick a topic, then you write down as many words you can think of related to it. This is all well and good, but I think we can do a better job. To help us I've created a Word Association chart, it will focus our associations, and help us come up with both figurative and literal words that relate to our topic. All you do is write in whatever the focus is you're trying to develop associations for, and then pick one for each category.
It's better explained by example, so we'll use dog as the focus of our topic. Maybe it's a dog-related product or service. With dog as our focus, we write down associated words for each category. Metaphors: You're in the dog house. Puns: I have the New Leash on Life. Idioms: You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Hyperbole: My dog is so ugly his only friend is a cat.
Personification: The dog serenaded the moon all night. Emotional: Doggone it. Slang: Yo dog. Historical: Cerberus, the hellhound from Roman mythology. Facts: Pet, leash, collar, flees, bark, beg, rollover, bone, etcetera; these are keywords. Many more Word Associations could be made from this topic, but you get the general idea. The whole point of using Word Associations is to help you notice and uncover clever relationships, and it's these relationships that can lead you to effective, visual concepts.
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