11 Creative Exercises 1.November.2017

  1. Telephone Pictionary – Partner up and send one person off to find an object, call the second person and have them draw it by only describing the shapes, not the materials.
  2. 6 Second Film – Use a tool like Vine Camera to showcase a story in only six seconds
  3. Mind Mapping
  4. Serious Play – A team exercise where you use legos to build the greatest _______ in ______
  5. Use the wrong tool – For example: Use AfterEffects to make a business card, use paper to write an email. The answer to “but how?” will lead you to unique solutions.
  6. Design something you won’t normally – Example: Mockup a ketchup packet
  7. Build Extra Constraints – Example: design a Valentines Day card without using Red and Pink
  8. 13 Creative Exercises for Photographers from B&H
  9. Design Exercises for Inspired Designers from HOW Magazine
  10. Gamestorming exercises for teams to develop creative ideas
  11. Design Methods from

The Fold 21.September.2013

“Above the fold” are three words that web designers dread hearing from their clients.

It bears mentioning that the original purpose for the fold in newspapers, was not to cram all of the information there (like most clients assume) but instead was to intrigue people enough to buy the newspaper and read more. You may notice that some newspapers cut the main picture off on the fold, so the reader can’t see the whole picture until below the fold.

As web designers, we need to think about the fold the same way. Above the fold should have just enough information to entice users to click or scroll to explore the site in greater detail. People know how the scroll, we just need to encourage them to do so.

Treat Your Freelancers the Way You’re Not Treated 28.November.2012

Why do we not do this?

We go into client engagements, hoping that they’ll give us the credit we’re due. We want a budget big enough to accomplish their goals. A timeline long enough that we can work a 40 hour week. We want them to trust us regarding the color scheme and logo placement (and size). We want them to treat us like the experts we are. But most of the time they don’t. We may be lucky enough to get lip service, but all too often the client acts like they are the designer.  We demand respect (demand them as much as we can without actually turning down work). So we take the work, gripe about the client and hope for no scope creep.

We say creatives should be respected, the process should be respected, but then we turn around and ask the same from our freelancers who are helping us get our projects done. This makes sense on the work where we were already given the short end of the stick. What doesn’t make sense is when we do get the rare project in which we do have a long enough timeline, or a big enough budget or creative freedom. We still turn around an tell a freelancer, “it finished piece has to look exactly like this”, “Are you sure you can’t do it for cheaper?”, “are you busy this weekend?”. We all do it, you know it. Anyone who has subbed out part of a project has treated their sub like crap, at least once.

I am at a point in my career where I have great clients, and great people helping me get those projects done, but the above scenario is far too common.

Why? There are no real good excuses. We can plan ahead, we know that value of the creative process, we know we’re know other designers can help make a project better…or at least we say we do.

Measuring ROI for Mobile Ad Campaigns 18.June.2012

This past week I had the opportunity to speak at the Mobile Marketing Association (aka. MMA) Forum in New York. I was on a panel discussing ROI for mobile campaigns, especially mobile video. Mobile Marketer did a great job of summarizing what was said:

Testing different initiatives in a campaign can be a great way for brands to drive an ROI, per Mr. Cook. For example, in a multichannel campaign that includes television and mobile video components, turning off one of the channels can show what is working.

Additionally, segmenting a campaign into a control and test market by location can be a great way for brands to see what the impact is for individual DMAs.

“[Mobile] works enough to convince the client to keep doing it,” Mr. Cook said.

“And in some markets, it is interesting because it’s not always the same percentage of sales in a test versus control market,” he said.

“But we are seeing either from a couple percentage points to the high single or double percentage points of sales being impacted.”

via Heineken exec: Mobile is powerful lever for brand building – Strategy – Mobile Marketer.

Great Examples of Visualizing Large Numbers 25.May.2012

It just doesn’t add up. We humans have a terrible time understanding large numbers. Once the number starts to exceed what we’re comfortable dealing with, it becomes too abstract and all starts to sound the same. Basically if it is higher than we can count, it’s too big to understand easily. A number of experts have done a great job of explaining why this is, so we won’t go into that here. (more…)

Brainstorming Process – Branding 3.September.2010

A co-worked asked me what my process was for  brainstorming brand names or taglines. I thought that would make an interesting blog post. So here is my process in a nutshell:

I find a space away from my computer and other things that may try to tempt my attention to wonder on to other tasks. Whereever the space chosen for the day is I only take with me the Brand Architecture and my sketch book. I read over the Brand Architecture carefully and then start to jot down ideas. When I feel like I have a sufficient understanding of the Brand Architecture I begin to focus my sights on the sketchbook, filling up about a page or two with ideas, mostly written. I then return to the Brand Architecture and cross out any ideas that don’t align with the brand.

After I feel like I have some respectable ideas down, I’ll browse competitors, seeing what they’re doing well and were they are falling short reaching the same basic audience we’re going for. A lot of times this will reveal openings in the market (such as demographics or messaging that no one else is targeting).

By this time, definitely a break is in order. I believe that breaks are essential to the creative process, and I should probably blog more about why I think they’re important. It may be a 15 minute milkshake run or just coming back to my ideas in a day or two. Whenever it is, I then revisit my sketchbook, jot down new ideas, revise old ones and generally review where I’m at. After that I like to carve out some time for a meeting, either formally or informally to bounce ideas off of others who are working on the project.

Rinse and repeat as necessary.

When I’m brainstorming alone or in a group meeting with others, the process is still basically the same.

What’s your process look like?

It’s how you say it 11.April.2010

As professional communicators, we need to stop worrying about conveying facts and focus on conveying understanding.

Better Next Time 7.March.2010

Looking back on your most recent project…

  1. What’s one thing that you could have done to make the end product better?
  2. What one thing you could have done to come in farther under budget?
  3. Can you apply what you learned to any current project?