A branding agency must consistently create great work. Success depends on it. Great work as in work that does not get lost in the noise and clutter of marketing. Work that inspires viewers to action or moves them to a desired reaction. Work that is noticed and not overlooked. Work that helps clients achieve their goals and grow their business’.
To leave the creation of great work to chance wouldn’t be very good for our business. So, we have studied what to do to maximize the likelihood of our work having the impact we are hired to make. We’ve learned a few things about creating great work, and would like to share a few tips.
1. Get inspiration from various sources
One way to make creative work better is by leveraging research and discovery. We build this into the front end of our process, on all projects. We do our best to approach creative challenges with wide open, empty minds. We then shape an understanding of (and solutions to) the problem we’re solving with input from various, often unrelated places.
We learn from people, experiences, publications… anywhere we can. We look online and in our community. We hold meetings, make phone calls, and visit various places. We ask questions and dig into topics that are often on the periphery of what we’re working on. We then combine, overlay, contrast, and cross-pollinate the things we find with each other. This leads to the emergence of exciting new connections and patterns.
Creative solutions are rarely seen when looking at a branding problem straight on. This ancillary exploration and blending results in unexpected concepts that can be developed, checked against the brief, and refined to serve the original purpose – branding solutions that attract interest.
2. Hang work in progress
Another critical (and fruitful) part of our process is hanging work up. We put rough drafts on a wall for viewing and reviewing. The simple act of printing and hanging the design work does a couple of magical things.
First, it invites everyone in the studio to see it and develop opinions about it. (More on that later.) Second, it takes what was in software, on a screen, and “in progress”, and turns it into a tangible snapshot of where the work is at a moment in time. To a team of engaged creative professionals, this leads to better work. The tangible snapshot can be more meaningfully judged. It is up and visible for casual and formal review. Inconsistencies, flaws, and other issues are noticed and corrected. And new ideas and alterations emerge for exploration.
Technology has made it increasingly easy to create in a vacuum. To push pixels around on the computer and not let the work see the light of day until it’s ready to be output. Printing and hanging progress forces a pause, however brief, in the creative process, and exposes the work to valuable scrutiny that ultimately makes it better.
3. Invite in different perspectives on your branding work
A final tip on creating impactful work is to invite in a wide variety of perspectives. Often times, the lead creative players on a project can allow their focus to narrow. They make assumptions. They might come to see their perspective as the “correct” perspective, or take their understanding of the nuances and details as objective. By inviting different viewpoints and fresh eyes into the process, you invite valuable differences of opinion.
This can be a slippery slope. And we are not suggesting changing the work based on every opinion you hear, or on a bunch of individual preferences. But hearing from people who are removed from the project can be powerful. These individuals have not developed the same perspective as the more immersed team has, and their insights can reveal things that might have been overlooked. Everyone has a different focus, and bias. In the interest of better work, it is always best to hear these varied views and to give them careful consideration.
It’s not easy to create great work consistently. But it can be made easier by repeatedly doing what works. We’ve made these three tips for effective branding a regular part of our process, and have benefitted from them.
For more posts about our branding and design process click here.