A Work in Process

Everyone understands this premise: learning to eat healthier and working out consistently will lead to a better you. The same concept applies to creative development: working hard and smart gives great results.

As clients become aware of the steps in creativity, it fosters an environment of understanding, better communication and allows for creation of award-winning work that will ultimately lead to great success (for the client and the agency).

Not to be confused with Scientology’s steps toward clarity, the following four steps are key in the development of strong creative. We practise these on a daily basis.

Preparation

This is the first and most important phase. We complete in-depth research, gathering the most relevant information possible about the project, the client, the client’s goals as well as research competitors (and their competitor’s creative) within that particular industry sector. This is where we observe/examine/analyze.

This is the most laborious as well as the most important step. Without a solid understanding of the client and their goals, any future creative development will lead to failure.

Incubation

This is where we begin pulling something from the ether. Having researched and understood the goals and challenges in the Preparation phase, it is here where a brainstorming of ideas occurs and communication solutions are discarded, shortlisted and ultimately chosen to develop. Right or wrong, each concept is treated ruthlessly and pushed as far as it can go. There are no bad ideas in this phase.

Creative departments are never sure where or when brilliant ideas/concepts will occur. The constant rumination ultimately leads to…

Illumination

This is the eureka moment. It often happens suddenly, but it doesn’t happen randomly. It appears after understanding, researching and sifting through many ideas (good and bad) where it suddenly becomes obvious that there is one perfect idea that will work for the client’s goals. Secondary, modified or tweaked versions may occur here, however there is always a clear winner in the group. This is where the creative has come to epitomize the client’s brand.

Implementation

The work now can be technically applied to make the idea or concept a reality. It’s here that the idea or concept is critiqued to ensure it will work best for the client, and then pushed through to the final design or production phase. Creatives evaluate their work to have a sense of what will or will not become successful prior to this stage.

Most clients only see the creation at the end, and don’t realize the work it took to generate an idea/concept or design. It’s a misnomer that creative work appears out of thin air. Much like trying to lose weight and get in better shape, there is a great deal of understanding and work necessary to achieve the final goal.