“Make the layouts rough and the ideas fancy”
From a quick scribble on a napkin to a full-blown branding exploratory, it all begins when pencil hits paper and a great idea comes to life. I love creating ideas…relevant and dramatic ideas…big bold ideas. Ideas that generate people to think…to buy things…to meet their “unmet needs”. I love generating creative insights that work through multiple mediums, channels, and tactics creating an emotional connection with the consumer and change their purchasing behavior.
Every project you work on as a designer has its own set of goals for what it should accomplish. I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. The visuals I create are meant to help lead people in a specific direction.
I have over 20+ years of experience working on over 30 brands in multiple categories: brand marketing, consumer promotions, shopper marketing, sports marketing and pharmaceutical.
Important things I learned along the way...
I believe concept is king…Focus on great ideas, and only then should you focus on crafting them with whatever tools you need—PhotoShop, InDesign, and so on.
Far too many designers focus on the wrong thing first: the flash, the glamor, the cleverness. But the purpose of advertising is to sell.
Thinking about what the client wants and the best ways to approach those situations…you need a great concept before you can create an ad or a campaign. And it's the function of the ad concept to provide an ephemeral bridge between the product or service, and a need or want of the buyer.
Never fall in love with an idea. If the one you’re with isn’t doing the job, there’s always, always, always another.
Art direction is about evoking the right emotion, it’s about creating that connection to what you’re seeing and experiencing. By contrast, design is the technical execution of that connection. Design is perfection in technique; art direction is about the important, yet sometimes intangible emotion that powers the design.
The role of the art director could be compared to that of a chef, fusing together ingredients to produce a menu of delightful dishes.
For me, a good art director has to be open to influence, inspiration and the expertise of the people around them, appreciating their talents, strengths and weaknesses, whilst maintaining a clear vision of delivering a message that speaks directly to the reader, viewer or user.
Plan before you design; don’t skimp the design brief.
If you’re going to show sketches, don’t throw-in the kitchen sink. Tell the client to focus solely on the ideas —It’s faster for you, faster for your client, and it keeps the conversation where it belongs — on the idea.
Whether it's clients or your own team, you should spend a lot of time listening - really listening. It's the only way I've found of really understanding what a client's issues are.
Be a sponge for as much culture as you can fill your mind with.