Ideation…

– a melting pot

for great ideas!

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Creativity is an essential skill for designers. We’re a funny breed really, because we’re always striving for that perfect and imaginative new concept which will excite both our clients and their target audience in equal measures.

But it might surprise you to learn that the creative process is not always logical or easy? Along the way we can get stuck, overwhelmed or downright confused. That’s why at Pixooma, we subscribe to the concept of ideation.

Whilst we want clients to see just how innovative and imaginative we can be, we don’t want them to be swamped with too many options.

What is it?

Ideation is the process for generating a broad set of ideas and solutions on a given brief or topic, with no attempt to judge or evaluate them. This can be done through brainstorming, sketching or other design techniques, with the focus on quantity of ideas, rather than quality.

We believe this is the most important stage and we often refer to is as our safe space. This is because it doesn’t matter if the ideas we generate are used or not. Instead, what’s vital is that we can uncover and explore new angles or avenues and think outside the box. We can then experiment with concepts and either progress with them or leave them behind. Our client will often never see all the results of our ideation – however, they will usually view a selection of concepts that have been further refined after this process.

Our roller banner design for Northants Accounting was initially presented with four different hero image choices.

How does it work?

Ideation is about not losing ideas or getting lost in ideas, it’s about keeping initial design versions to a minimum, so we don’t overwhelm our clients. If the process of generating ideas is going well, we often stop ourselves and save our work. We then may take the idea in different directions to see what is possible. If the result of the extra creative burst goes well then that’s fine, but if not, then we always have the option to go back a step if the previous step was better.

Sometimes we have several ideas that are all strong. We then can stand back and be objective and self-select which one will work better or take a layout or theme we like and then just change one thing. For example, we recently were tasked with putting together a cover for a magazine. We came up with 10 different covers, all with the exact same layout, but utilising 10 different images.

A concept for a Remembrance Day post we presented to our client, VPK UK, with a number of different image options

Less is more

Ideation is an integral part of our creative thinking process. But whilst we want clients to see just how innovative and imaginative we can be, we don’t want them to be swamped with too many options. That’s why we work through them all first. Because we’re convinced that less is more when it comes to presenting concepts that we believe will work.

It feels a bit like AB marketing testing sometimes. We give our clients two versions of flyers, web pages, emails, or other marketing collateral that look similar with just one difference and they can decide which version they like best.

We designed these adverts for our client PBC Insolvency and Recovery. For the bank card concept we were confident in our approach (and our photoshop work!), but for the ‘trees’ one had several good image options so we showed them all to the client.

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