Prior to one Brent Eastman joining the Identity team, the term “ideation” was entirely foreign to me. According to Webster, the definition of ideation is simply “the capacity for or the act of forming or entertaining ideas.” Pretty straightforward on the surface, but, speaking from firsthand experience, the process of ideation can truly generate unique thoughts and concepts that one person sitting behind a desk would be hard pressed to develop. Thus, the following discussion of the Identity Creative Process.
When we are presented with a creative need/challenge from a client—whether a mail campaign, a new brand image, a website or any other design-related initiative—the first step is a discovery period with the client. At this time, we discuss differentiators, objectives for the initiative, likes/dislikes and key messages the client wants to convey with the designed element. The second step is an ideation, during which any and all ideas presented by a member of the creative team are included on a massive white board for discussion and consideration. These discussions revolve around the outcome of the discovery, and all ideas connect back to the groundwork laid out during the discovery phase. Following the initial ideation, the group will either disperse and reconnect with additional ideas or the design process will begin.
There are a few rules for this process…the golden rule being that you build on ideas, not subtract (the word “no” doesn’t exist). There are no bad ideas. Of course some ideas are better than others, but even the worst idea can lead to the next great thought.
While the concept seems, and in reality is, quite simple, it actually does prove that many heads—in our case at least six—are better than one. There is often more work on the front end of projects, but the end result is great work that exceeds client expectations. The finished product exemplifies who they are and accomplishes their objectives because the design is formed around those themes.
Maybe you call it something different, but do you hold ideation sessions or similar brainstorms at your office?