When we present concepts to clients, I often wonder if they think about how we got from the creative brief to the visual solution. I wonder if they try to understand the leap from words and thoughts to images/colors/type. Maybe they understand more than I give them credit for. Or maybe they don’t care at all and I am just wondering how I do it myself. I’m always a little surprised where inspiration comes from.
It isn’t always easy. Tighter and tighter deadlines have forced quicker creative processing. Concepts have to come fast, be good and they have to work. There is rarely time to explore every avenue. The first road has to be the right road.
Having an internal creative process is the key. I am constantly cataloguing visuals and ideas I like, to pull from at a moments notice. I call it building my mental visual library. My library can include design work, Google searches, street signs, movie credits, car colors, fashion, nature and on and on. Answers also come from many learned techniques over the years; brainstorming, word-mapping, sketching, tone-boarding and so on. They are all effective alone or with a team.
Words, especially feelings words, come with their own histories of visual associations. “Anger” is typically red or black. “Friendly” is typically a san serif typeface. “Agile” has sleek, moving shapes. We learn those as designers and over time add new connections and even create our own.
Years upon years worth of these visual connections float around in my head. So my decision isn’t really what idea to grab, but how to grab it. Inspiration is not just what to think but also how to think.
That is why my photography is a huge inspiration for my design. You may look at my infrared landscape photography and not see a visual connection with a logo I’ve designed. No matter. It is my approach to thinking, especially when I am out in nature seeking out just the right shot, that matters. I am reminded to take the extra step, to continue, to understand what I am seeing and what I want to capture. It teaches me to slow down, to breathe and to focus on the pure essence of what is before me. It reminds me to pay attention. And it sorts the visual clutter floating around in my brain.