The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising: Workflow 4

Iffyness can stem from a lack of self confidence. If you are not sure which version is to be the final one, try one of these approaches:

  • Set up a contest and let your tummy be the judge. If you have got more than two possible finalists, put them in direct competition to each other. If you are working on a print job, print out all versions. Stack them up, turn them around (so you see the blank backside of the sheets) and randomly pick two. Place these next to each other – now act on impulse: pick the one your stomach likes best. Put the winner aside and pick the next two, eliminating half of the stack like that. After round one, repeat until you have only one final left.
  • Compare your possible finals with the earliest version. Another possibility is comparing each of your potentials with your earliest comp, or outline. By doing that, you can see the benefits and disadvantages more clearly.
  • Add context. If you are doing a print ad, open up the magazine or newspaper in question. If you have done that already at an earlier stage (which I recommend in any case), do it again. Play around by placing print-outs of your different comps in the magazine. Which one looks best in their natural surrounding?
  • Outline possible follow-up variations. Assume this is to be the start of a series. Which version is most flexible while emphasizing the CI?
  • Ask for an outsider’s opinion. For that, you have three possibilities:
    • Your friends and family. People not in the business. They can point out flaws and open your eyes for things you haven’t considered. They give you a glimpse at the real world’s perception of a comp, even if it seems worthless: I like blue better than cyan because blue is my favorite color can be valuable information.
    • Fellow designers. If they are not your enemies, they can give you a professional opinion and lead you the right way.
    • A design related community. Various websites form a community where creatives can post their comps and get feedback from other community members.

Here we go!

These are the 5 Rules of Workflow and Getting it Done I consider vital for creatives. They are not intended to be ultimate rules – rather guides that have proved to be useful and work for us. Maybe they can help you come to better results with your work – being in the creative business myself, I wanted to share them with you. Can you relate to these guidelines? Also, possibly you have a rule of your own I haven’t mentioned? Share your thoughts!

The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising: Workflow

This is the third installment in the 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising. So far, I have covered:

  • Part 1: Basic Rules
  • Part 2: Rules of Composition

Set 3: The Rules of Workflow and Getting it Done

Whether you are working for an advertising agency or you are a freelancer, there are a few things everybody I know in the creative business incorporates. The nature of or jobs makes it necessary to rely on a few techniques that get our creative juices flowing.

1. You laugh at nine to five

you will have to forgive me for this one – it may sound harsh and insulting to some people, but it is the full truth in the creative business. A standard 9-to-5 job is the exact opposite of what the life of a designer looks like. Especially when you freelance, you do not usually start your working day at nine in the morning, take a break at noon and clean up your desk at five. This has two main reasons:

  • There is no routine in creativity. With inspiration being the driving force of our productivity, we can’t look at the clock and say Now you have gonna be creative for eight hours. Inspiration comes and goes. you will find yourself standing up and working on a job in the middle of the night, just because you had that great idea that needed immediate attention.
  • Design is not an everyday job. A designer will not usually pull a line between work and fun. We do not go to work because we have to – but because we love what we are doing! That is, if you are a designer at heart and soul. You then (start to) notice that design is all around. You start walking through life with open eyes and absorb everything you see. Especially when you are in advertising.

2. You can spend hours and hours tweaking and turning a comp upside down, but sometimes, your first idea is still the best

Sometimes, you have this fantastic idea that you love so much. You get all excited over it. You start outlining the idea right away. At some point though, you do notice that you need a couple more ideas. That may be for the reasons mentioned above, or simply because you are such an ambitious designer, which is very good. But you simply can’t come up with anything else. Why is that?