What’s the
big idea?

Tue 1 Dec 2015

With the rush to meet ever tighter deadlines and budgets, an unfortunate side-effect is happening in the design world: There’s less time to think.

This might sound like the grumblings of an overly precious designer, but it is a genuine concern. Without time to think, where is the big idea going to come from? If design becomes an automated, sterile process; experimentation and blind alleys are eliminated in favour of safe options and commonly trodden paths.

Some might see this as a good thing. Afterall, cost-cutting and efficiency are commonly used terms in these times of austerity. But the problem is that if everything becomes homogonised, flat-packed and vanilla, then where is the wit, the soul, the good idea?

Tutors in design colleges have long preached to their willing congregation of eager students: “Thou shalt not touch thy Mac until thou hath thought and sketched and cometh up with a good idea!”

Of course this approach isn’t necessary for every project, and there are always limits to time and budgets. A three hour brainstorming session is clearly overkill for a flyer or leaflet. But it’s the bigger projects, those that have a long lasting effect on how a client is perceived by their audience, that need a bit of extra love and care – the identities, advertising campaigns, brochures and websites… These need to be nurtured and considered a little (or a lot) before being finally committed to or they just won’t be quite right.

The reason most designers join the profession is to create original, interesting work that satisfies their creative appetite. But also, more importantly, work that fulfils the needs of their client’s brief. When this happens seamlessly it’s a magical process, and generally it coincides with a much more successful end result.

So just a little more time spent thinking can pay huge dividends in terms of end product and all round well-being. This means everybody’s happy.

Now wouldn’t THAT be a great idea?

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