Every creative endeavor should start with a brainstorming session whether it’s in a group, or you’re flying solo. The process of brainstorming can help you and your team avoid cliches and pleasing Captain Obvious. The Following are the 5 brainstorming guidelines that we follow in our creative projects whether we’re designing a logo, coming up with a concept for an ad campaign, developing a website, or naming a company, product, or service. Use these tips to guide you in your creative efforts.
1. Review the parameters.
What are the goals? Who is the audience? Read a project overview out loud and even put a few keynotes on the board to keep them in front of the team.
2. There are no bad ideas.
Before you start to brainstorm, make sure everyone on the team understands this important rule. The idea here is to avoid knee-jerk reactions to someone’s ideas that should be freely thrown into the ring. Avoid comments like “that will never work”, or “that idea sucks”, or “we can’t pull that off.” Here’s why; If one person says “Hey! What if we us a photo of 2 people shaking hands?”, and someone else on the team replies, “How lame! That’s so cliche!”, they’ve just shut down that person from contributing any more ideas, or causes another team member to withhold a brilliant idea for fear of being shot down in flames. True, the over-used image of a handshake might be cliche, but throwing that idea at the wall could cause someone else to have a brilliant idea of taking it to a place that’s never been done. Hold nothing back—even the outrageous and the ridiculous.
3. Write everything down.
I like using a big whiteboard and scribbling ideas and simple sketches. It helps the whole team stay on the same page. Let others take control of the dry erase marker too. When you’re done, or need to make more board space, snap a photo of the white board before it gets erased. You may need to refer back to it.
4. Don’t be afraid to run down a rabbit hole.
If the brainstorming takes an unexpected turn down Bizarro Street, follow it for a while and see where it takes you. Even if it results in something that doesn’t work on this particular project, it may solve a problem on another project. To quote Smash Mouth, “You never know if you don’t go.” Be mindful of the time and take steps to get back on task.
5. Review what you have.
When you reach a lull in the storm, go back and review everything on the board. At this point it might be really obvious what the good stuff is. Go back and read the parameters. Does it meet the goals? Does it speak to the intended audience? Does it look, feel, taste, smell and sound like the client’s brand? If not, move to the next one until you have the idea that will work. You may have to start over the next day and that’s ok. It’s part of the process.
Have fun. Enjoy the process.
OK. Maybe this is #6, but who ever heard of a Top 6 List? Laugh out loud… for real. The point here is to have fun. Fun breads creativity. This is a great opportunity for a team building and bonding. As a creative, you get to make stuff up for a living…How cool is that?