Here is my 9 step process that I developed for myself.
First I skip through the brief. Then I read it again properly.
Usually I just check out what the competition is doing to make sure I’m not doing the same, etc.
You need to prepare for this one. Take a piece of paper, write the name of the project and the main objective on the top of the page. Divide the page into 9 sections with 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines to make 9 sections. Make 4 copies.
Now that I have the brainstorming sheets, I start to write or sketch the ideas that come to my mind, one in each section. At this point I don’t care if the idea makes sense or if it is feasible. Don’t stop till you fill 2 pages (18 sections). Most of the time, this takes more than an hour of concentration. I try not to stop even if I think that I’ve got a winner idea. I try to keep my mind open and forget about the idea that I just scribbled down to be able to concentrate on the next one. I try not to analyze the ideas at this stage.
4. Take a break and restart
Now that I’ve done 2 pages, I need to change something. I usually take a walk and find myself a bench in a park or a quite corner in a cafe. I try to fill the third sheet.
5. Change of perspective
Once I returned to the office, I take the fourth sheet and write down a random list of 9 characters and places into each section, like: Mars, Ant, Ronald McDonald, Train, Vampire, Transformer robot, Kenya, Bakery and Harrison Ford. Now, I take each of the places and characters perspective and think of the same problem from their points of view. For example if I’m a vampire and I need a logo for this butchery, what would it look like. It’s actually quite fun if you take the effort to imagine yourself into each persons body and project yourself to each place. You can develop your own methods to change your perspective. For example you can simply turn your page upside down or stand up on the top of the table (remember the movie?).
6. Random association
I take a book that has many images and words, like a magazine. I decide which part of the page I want to go for and then open the magazine. Let’s say, I look at the top right element in the page for example. If I see a crying baby? I’ll try to think of an idea related to the crying baby and sketch it down on a fifth sheet. I try to do it for all the nine segments and then I take a break.
At this point I should have 45 ideas, most of them are useless. If I’m lucky I will have 4-5 feasible ones and some more that can be made to work with some tweaking. I go through each idea and try to make it work. I select the best 9 and than start working on them and see if I can eliminate 6 of them. I keep only the best 3 that I’m very happy with.
I reread the brief and see if my 3 concepts answer the brief fully and talk to someone that I value the opinion of and get his comments.
9. I finalize the ideas.
Hope you will find it useful, especially if your creative muscles are in top notch condition.
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