Where do ideas come from?

Brilliant ideas, graphic design and branding take work - not robotic systems
Brilliant ideas, graphic design and branding take work - not robotic systems

One of the things that has always amazed me when working with brilliant designers is where they get their ideas from. How do they rock up every day and create brilliant work that meets and exceeds the brief we set before them?

So I asked some of those in our team, and the answer seems to be everywhere and anywhere. Which is obvious I guess, but it is the main reason that we only look at designers who have a life outside of work and have done (and continue to do) interesting things when they are not at work.

If you stare at a computer all day, great ideas won’t come rolling out, but safe ones will. Ones that you are pretty sure will be good enough to get through, not those that are brilliant enough to really stand out.

So I started thinking about how we know whether it is a good idea or not. For me, that comes down to really making the effort to getting a brilliant brief in the first place – as you then have something to compare the results against.

There will always be two schools of thought about which is best. Dealing with designers directly, or account handlers doing the running to keep the designers designing. Neither is best as it depends on who the people are involved in the process.

Clients invariably get the work they deserve. Lazy briefing breeds lazy safe work. Spending the right amount of time to really get to the bottom of what makes the brand different, and what values it is to be built on, is never wasted work. No automatic branding system or $50 logo company in the world will generate brilliant branding, it will generate safe and possibly usable logos.

In the famous book ‘The seven habits of highly effective people’, Steven Covey tells a story of two bosses. One who is totally prescriptive and tells him what to do by when and the other who says he is only there to help him open doors and remove barriers for him. He works considerably harder for the latter, who gives him the trust and the latitude to do great work.

The same comes true when you are briefing designers to work on your branding. If you work with them and trust them, you can deliver great things between you.

Great branding comes from great thinking and great graphic design. One cannot exist without the other. Whether that thinking comes from client, account handler or designer, is irrelevant – and needs to be seen as such by all parties – but get them all working together and you have the potential to create truly outstanding work.

Thanks for the Excellent robots shot to Neato Coolville who’s work you can see here.

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