Welcome back to the process series! You can see step one of my process: problem definition here.
STEP TWO: BRAINSTORM
Brainstorming is a great way to get lots of different ideas recorded in a short period of time. But more importantly, it allows the creativity to flow without any restrictions, judgement or pressure. Brainstorming is an important part both for me and my client, which is why it’s a four-part process for me.
The first part of my brainstorming process is getting my clients to pull some inspiration and get some of their own ideas down on paper.
This is usually done as a Pinterest board that we can collaborate on. All of my clients set up a Pinterest board where they can pin images that relate to their brand, the words they chose in their questionnaire, or that would speak to their ideal audience. I try and direct my clients back to the questionnaire they just filled out and use those keywords to find images.
For example, a brand I'm currently working on chose these are their top three words:
Whimsical, fun, colourful
While the client is going through Pinterest with the words that describe their brand, I also ask them to make notes on the images their choosing.
Why are they pinning that image? What attracts them to it? Is it the colours, the mood, the overall look, composition, pattern etc. This allows me to see the why behind each image and pull the ones that are really speaking to them, or clarify when the image doesn’t match their brand.
I go through all of these images and try and find patterns. Sometimes it's a colour, pattern, type treatment or feel that stands out from all the images. I pick the ones that I feel represent what the client is looking for and compile them into a mood board. This is used to determine the visual look of the entire project. It's really important that the client loves every part of the mood board, and that it represents those words that were chosen at the start of the project.
Those words above (whimsical, colourful and love) turned into this mood board below:
Most of my clients have no idea this step even exists, and to be honest, it doesn’t really pertain to them. I have a master Design board on Pinterest that I use to save images of graphic design work I adore. I also use Behance as a resource for inspiration.
This stage is for me to find inspiration for their particular logo. I use this stage to research their industry, see what their competitors are doing, what’s trendy in their market right now etc.
Usually, by this stage, I already have an idea of what I'm going to design, and I've maybe even sketched some ideas out. But this stage really helps me solidify some of these ideas, and guide me in a few different areas to focus on.
The last step for me in the brainstorming phase is sketching it out. I always start with pencil and paper (because that's what my university professors made us do in school). To be honest, nothing beats pencil and paper. Sometimes when I'm feeling uninspired, I'll go back to paper where there are no distractions and I can just create without any expectations.
I then take those sketches into illustrator and start working with some type/graphics. Seeing how the different elements work together and compliment each other or don't. This is usually a very messy stage. As you can see from a screenshot of my artboards below: (this was the development of my logo)
This part of the process usually takes the longest for me. I try and sit down for a few hours developing a concept, and refining it so I can present it to the client. I always step away from the project after a few hours as well. It's amazing what a fresh look can do for a project. Stepping away and coming back after a day or two is always a good idea.
TAKE-AWAYS FOR YOU:
- Start with a mood board for your project to set the tone of the design and ensure you stay on track.
- Pencil and paper can't be beaten. This no fuss, no pressure brainstorming allows you to get lots of ideas down in a short amount of time.
- Step away and come back to your work. A fresh perspective is always a good a thing, and can do wonders for your project.