Creative freedom can be exciting and crippling at the same time. Sometimes the absence of design direction is the hardest direction, while at other times, having a clear plan of action is the best way to start. On the other hand, an absence of clear direction leaves you open to exploring opportunities and ideas that a liner path doesn’t allow.
With great power comes great responsibility. And with a million creative ideas swirling around, it’s best to game-plan and strategize early, set attainable goals, and take definitive action.
Step One: Strategize
Last year, we worked on the brand development for The Monroe, a residential property in Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood. The creative direction was largely put into our court, with the client seeking our expertise in coming up with a name and overall visual identity that’s memorable and easily translated through to a variety of mediums.
Following our name brainstorm and selection, we developed 4 distinct design directions for the property, showing both the overall logo and visual identity, and carrying that through to illustrate in-use applications in signage, advertisements, and collateral. We set a specific number of options before we got to work, ensuring that our energy was best spent with a narrowed focus, harnessing our creative energy.
Step Two: Set Attainable Goals
The creative workload that went into this project was significant – thinking about everything from logo design, leasing center signs, bathroom signs, garage art, leasing books, rack cards, community room graphics, bike room graphics, blade signs, circular signs, website, floor plans, fence wraps…you get the picture.
On paper it all felt a little overwhelming at first. But with a clear strategy and defined goals, we began chipping away. As we checked in with the client each week with progress, we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel with it all coming together. Deep breaths.
Step Three: Take Creative Action
After the goals are set and progress is being realized, we continue working through design iterations and deliverables. We start on any design project with research and mood-boarding for reference and inspiration. With research in place, we collaborated constantly internally to develop our designs to reach final outcomes.
When you find yourself faced with a daunting creative process, remember to strategize early, set attainable goals and benchmarks, and define expectations. This is a surefire way to simplify the creative design process, keeping you focused on the outcome without getting stuck in a creative rut.