Design

Ted talks to keep you creative

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Welcome to March! New Years resolutions have  faded, it’s STILL winter, and there’s a lot of work to be done. So here are a few TED talks to keep you inspired, creative, and motivated.

Elizabeth Gilbert – Your elusive creative genius

One of my favorite TED talks, author of Eat, Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about following up your greatest success and attempting to chase down the creativity that made it possible.

“I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel, you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It’s like asking somebody to swallow the sun.”

 Kare Anderson: Be an opportunity maker

Kare talks about how making people who are unlike ourselves our allies… creates opportunities, for everybody.

“What I’m asking you to consider is what kind of opportunity- makers we might become, because more than wealth or fancy titles or a lot of contacts, it’s our capacity to connect around each others better side and bring it out.”


 Margaret Gould Stewart: How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too)

Margaret guides us through how complicated it can be to create designs that scale, but how important it is, to get it right.

“Audacity to believe that the thing that you’re making is something that the entire world wants and needs, and humility to understand that as a designer, it’s not about you or your portfolio, it’s about the people that you’re designing for, and how your work just might help them live better lives.”


 Richard St. John: Success is a continuous journey

Richard demonstrates how believing that you’re successful is a great way to fail.

“So I went back to doing the projects I loved. I had fun again, I worked harder and, to cut a long story short, did all the things that took me back up to success.”


 Edith Wilder: How we found the giant squid

Edith shows us how changing the method used to view underwater species helped catch a shot of the very elusive giant squid. Her very creative alternative approach generated amazing results.

“We’ve only explored about five percent of our ocean. There are great discoveries yet to be made down there, fantastic creatures representing millions of years of evolution and possibly bioactive compounds that could benefit us in ways that we can’t even yet imagine.”

What are some ways you stay creative and motivated to do your best work? How do you inspire others to do their best work?

Who are you designing for?

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The Design Dichotomy

Whether you’re an individual designer or part of a design team or simply someone in a company who has some say in the final design output, you carry with you a heavy question.

“Who is this design for?”

One the one hand, knowing your audience and creating pieces that will resonate is a crucial part of any brand communication.

On the other hand, stepping outside of your authentic self as a company or a designer for the sake of chasing trend can ultimately water down the relationships your brand is working to build.

So there’s your line. Draw it. Paint it. Walk it. But how?

Set the goals of the design first thing.

Here’s where we can fall behind right from the start. All too often the goals for a design project go something like, “we need a label design for this salsa. Make it look awesome. Go.”

Your definition of awesome and my definition of awesome may be completely different. Not to mention the customer might think both of our definitions of awesome are, well, not so awesome.

Good design requires some sense of space for creativity, sure, but some context and direction is just as important. What are the goals for our new salsa label? Just to be awesome? That’s too broad. Do we want it to stand out on the shelf? Speak to our fresh ingredients? Prepare people for just how stupid hot it is? Are we marketing to the buyer who cares about locally sourced or organic?

Thinking about and documenting all of the requirements and considerations in a creative brief takes some of the guesswork out and gets you thinking about your audience.

Ask yourself what you bring to the design table.

This is where we shift focus for a bit from the recipient to the messenger. Reflect on your collective works for a moment. What are the consistencies in your design that you want to carry through to this project? Are there brand characteristics to be considered? Especially if this is part of a brand extension.

Remember, “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.”

Internal meetings happen. Client meetings happen. Opinions happen. And often times in these “happenings” design by committee can be the result. It’s important to establish a filter for the noise. Ideally this can start in the Goals Phase by only having the people involved who absolutely need to be involved in the design process and when it comes down to it, trust has to be placed on the right person to make the final edits.

The NY Times wrote a piece a few years ago about the difference in design approach between Apple and Google. It’s nicely summed up in the photo below but the full article is well worth the read.

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You can’t be everything to everyone and you shouldn’t. That holds more true for design than possibly anything else because when you set out to create something for everyone to love chances are no one will. So who are you designing for?

Photo credit: ANGELOUX via Compfight
Adapted by Shout Out Studio
Illustration via NY Times / Peter Arkle

Show Them Your Creative Briefs

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You don’t have to be a big-time ad agency or even run a traditional “creative” business to benefit from a creative brief. Maybe you’ve hired an outside team to help you design and build a new website or refresh your logo. Maybe your marketing team is about to get started on Linkedin ads. Both of these examples benefit from a creative brief.

So who is it for and what does it do?

A common misconception is that the creative brief is for the client. Nope. It’s not entirely for the creative team either. It’s for both.

A well-constructed brief put together by the creative team harnesses all the important details of the project and frames it in a way that provides validation between client and team and sets a track for the creative team to move forward upon. When the creative team gets the client to sign off on the brief they’ve helped to reduce second-guessing from both sides. It’s all right there in the brief.

In order to accomplish this, however, a good creative brief needs to answer at least the following questions: read more

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Why We Love Moo

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We haven’t changed our Facebook status or anything yet but it’s fair to say the team here at Shout Out Studio are collectively in love and we’re all chasing the same crush. It’s a long distance relationship but has never once been a letdown. We’re in love with Moo.

There. We said it.

Moo is an online printer/provider of premium business cards, postcards, stickers and the like. We use Moo for a number of creative printing projects. In fact, we constantly think of ways we can use them more. Let me tell you a bit about why we’re so infatuated.

Personality

Right from the start, we felt at home visiting the Moo site. The copy is informational and yet conversational. There’s personality in it. They don’t take themselves too seriously and you get a glimpse inside Moo’s culture in the way the products are described and presented. It feels like someone you know is behind the scenes. Someone you can trust. Someone you’d enjoy grabbing a pint with. read more

Photo of newly sharpened color pencils

How Color Can Impact Your Business

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Color can play a major role in how folks think about your business

Color choice in branding and identity design can come from many different places. Maybe it’s simply your favorite color or the color of your house when you were a kid or it’s a representation of a word or phrase in your company name. All of those reasons are legitimate but another thing you might want to consider is the way your company will be perceived by others because of the colors you use. Some companies also think about the potential saturation of a certain color or palette in their market. We did when developing the palette for Shout Out Studio, but we also wanted our colors to reflect our personality and intention. read more

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