Ideas are the foundations to all good design. Good ideas can take an average brand with passing interest to an engaging brand with people forming a relationship with that brand.
Good ideas aren't held back by media and not reserved for just advertising. They branch into identity, print , web functionality, apps and more with the benefits for the company can be significant.
Before the mind can piece an idea together is needs to be informed with as much information as possible. This information should come from a variety of sources to build up a reservoir to draw on.
- A base of general knowledge
- Good understanding of digital marketing and design
- The brief
- Workshop findings
- Competitor behavior
- Target audience
- Business model, objective and brand
Having lots of sources of information leads to broader thinking that at first may extend outside of the brief, this is no bad thing and I don't underestimate the general knowledge, by nature I naturally take an interest in all sorts of stuff outside of design which can take my thinking in different and interesting directions.
Here we go for it, getting all our ideas down. I never worry what I’m putting down on paper at this point, there is no bad idea. So many times I have seen a weak idea given a little twist and be transformed into the winner. Within this stage it is nearly always beneficial to have a break completely from the project, it is in this break that you can benefit from reflection and fresh thinking comes about when you get back to the task.
A break! I hear you say. I know in the fast paced world of design it is very hard to find that space, but you can help by spending some time and then going onto some less tasking work and then revisiting your thinking again. Another way is to schedule it so you have the weekend to break it up.
Narrow and refine
Here we combine and focus our broader thinking, taking a selected few routes and developing the ideas we think are going to work. For digital we would rank any features with maximum impact at minimal effort first and make sure the fit well with what we want to achieve for the business/user.
You need to not be too emotionally attached to an idea at this point, try and see it will work from all angles. If the idea can't tick all the boxes and can't be tweaked to do so then put it aside. This gets easier to accept with experience.
After you have your ideas you can low fidelity test them with the target audience to validate your thinking.
So whatever the project it is always worth building in time upfront that can be used to give the project a concept or more ideas that propels it ahead of the competition. Everything starts as an idea, so it's worth the investment and the client will appreciate it.