Week two of the live project has been ideation week, learning and developing skills in how to get ideas down on paper and how to display them so that they can interpreted the way you intend them to be. The main thing that I learnt this week was the importance of mood boards, though I know as a designer they are key in showing other people your ideas visually rather than verbally — as I have no graphic design background or knowledge in this sort of thing this was relatively new to me. Previously in first year I somehow got away without using them at all, which now that I’ve made some, is baffling as it has helped me enormously in communicating my ideas.
The lectures on Monday (28th) this week were Ideation (Mind mapping) and Single-Minded Proposition (SMP).
The definition of ideation being the process in which you generate, develop and communicate new ideas. Ideas take many forms: visual, verbal, concrete or abstract. A quote that I especially liked from the lecture was “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions”, this resonated with me as I love the idea of open mindedness, knowing that there is always something new to learn and once you learn something it then opens you up to a whole new world of ideas and thoughts. Another quote followed this from Picasso which follows on from that idea, “I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else”.
The lecture introduced me to new ways of creating ideas and how to find them, these were put into a list consisting of:
- Problem to solution: find a problem, find a solution
- Derivation: take an existing idea, change it (hopefully to a better one)
- Symbiotic: take a group of ideas, combine them to make a single coherent idea
- Revolutionary: take existing principle, smash it and derive new perspective
- Serendipitous discovery (or accidental discovery): when an idea comes in the pursuit of something else (example of this = discovery of penicillin)
- Targeted innovation: an iterative process, solution is theorised but the path to it is poorly understood. Repeat attempts to create the pathways
There are no bad ideas in the initial ideation process, the purpose of this period is to create and not judge ideas. Volume is the most important thing — don’t waste time examining a particular idea in depth, write it down and move on. These were useful reminders for me as I often think of one idea and do way too much exploration — something which was emphasised in week one in the purpose of a creative brief, restricting yourself to avoid unnecessary time wasting in exploration.
Mind mapping — helps to show how different pieces of information or ideas are connected
Crazy 8’s — generally more helpful for UX/UI design. Fold an A4 piece of paper into 8, put a timer on for 8 minutes and spend one minute per box, sketching ideas and then getting peers to vote on their favourites
The 5 W’s — who, what, when, where, why, how — these can uncover details about any problem or challenge
Post Its/Sticky Notes — give yourself 10 minutes to write ideas onto sticky notes, putting one idea per note. Stick all ideas to a wall and discuss them, this technique is good for group/collaboration work
Story Boarding — this is a non-linear technique, it develops a visual story in relation to a problem. The problem is explored in depth and solutions are found through bringing the narrative to life
100 Ideas — freely associate any ideas to your given subject/topic until you reach 100 ideas; once you pass 20 you begin to discover unconventional and less obvious ideas
S.C.A.M.P.E.R — substitute, combine, adapt, modify (magnify/minify), put to another use, eliminate, reverse. Encourages lateral thinking, exploring new possibilities. These words are a series of thought provocations to help you think innovatively about existing products, services or situations
The only techniques which I had previously heard of and used were 100 Ideas, Crazy 8’s, Mind mapping and Sticky Notes. 100 Ideas is my favourite technique that I have used but previously when I have used it it has been during a timed task. When using it on my own within my work it allows me to spend time to think of unconventional ideas, things that I would not have thought of had it not been for the technique.
A task was set to choose three of the techniques and use them on the topic of the brief you had chosen. The mind map I created for my theme ‘Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland’ can be seen below. Though I have only used one of the techniques I shall use the others further in the week to develop my ideas and think of new ones.
*Insert 100 Ideas*
Single-Minded Proposition (SMP)
A single-minded proposition was a new concept to me as I have never been involved in any sort of advertisement before. It is used in brand communication to communicate the most important thing to the audience. An SMP summarises the most important thing about the brand or product. It was first introduced in 1961 by Rosser Reeves, he said:
- Each ad must say to the customer “Buy this product and you will get this specific benefit”
- An SMP must be unique, something nobody else can offer
- Proposition must be strong enough to move mass millions, i.e. pull over new customers
An SMP is the foundation on which every great campaign is built — no SMP, no campaign.
Example, Nike’s SMP is “Leading sports performance brand that gives athletes the confidence and power to win” with the phrase “Just Do It” their tone of voice is powerful, motivating and tells athletes there are no excuses. Apple’s SMP was “1000 songs in your pocket”.
How to write an SMP
- Get to know the product/service — understand what makes them unique. This shall be part of initial research, understanding what they say about themselves and what their client says
- List all the key features and then condense this list. It is a single-minded proposition — find benefits of this feature
- Write SMP statement down, find different ways of saying it. Refine until you have the best way of communicating the SMP in fewest words possible.
Single-minded proposition and unique selling point sound similar in their definitions but they are different. An SMP is the most important statement to communicate about the brand and the USP is something no other brand can offer.
This lecture then lead to a task about creating an SMP for the 100 Club brief. Although this is not the brief I chose it was helpful in understanding the concept and how I can apply to this my brief.
Task One: Researching the 100 Club — find what makes them stand out, what makes them different
Inclusive, 1942, London’s iconic 100 Club, “Recognised as one of the top 100 historic places in England”, 100 Oxford Street, Jazz Era live music era began at 100 Oxford street, historic, punk, indie, passionate, intimate venue, worth a visit, hit by history, intimate, memories, iconic venue, iconic basement music venue, great sound, underground
Task Two: Condense this list to the most important features (six)
Inclusive, intimate, worth a visit, iconic basement music venue, memories, underground, place to be
Task Three: Turn the list of features into SMP. Write short, punchy statements/sentences. If you have more than one, refine and condense it in as little words as possible.
The place to be.
The most inclusive underground music venue in England.
England’s most iconic music venue since 1942.
Bringing underground music underground since 1942.
Taking sound underground.
The final SMP that I chose was the final one that I came up with, “Taking sound underground”.
The single-minded proposition for the brand then becomes the belief that your tone of voice sits under — be creative and explore ways of communicating this brand truth. If your idea does not connect to the SMP, ditch it.
When applying this to my brief I shall find what is most important to communicate about the chosen theme.
On Wednesday 30th, the lectures included Client Feedback Session Preparation and Mood Boards.
We were told that client feedback sessions would be part of week three, so the preparation lecture was extremely helpful. As I have never pitched to a client before I was completely clueless as to what to include in my presentation.
Our title page was to include our name, our big idea (in one sentence) and three words that sum up the brand tone of voice/sentiment. As this was introduced during ideation week, we were advised that research will lead to the big idea — as at this stage we weren’t expected to have everything in line regarding our projects. Part of our presentation is to be mood boards, these including:
- Typography: what type is right for visual assets of the brand? Think headline copy, how will weight/font style differ in sub-headings and body copy?
- Illustration: which style fits with visual assets of brand? Name the illustrator or source
- Photography: which style fits with visual assets of the brand?
The presentation for the client is to be concise, only include what is necessary to get the idea across. For assessment the presentation is to include three mood boards, here there is potential to make a mood board for each element discussed above.
For the Baxter & Bailey brief we were told to produce three stamp ideas for our session in week three — these are to be drafts to get thoughts and ideas across to the client.
As previously stated, the mood board lecture for me was one the most helpful (although all were extremely useful).
“A mood board is the closest you can get to inviting someone to climb inside your creative mind”
A mood board is a physical or digital collage of ideas. They serve fundamental transition between initial thoughts and first drafts. They are used in initial brainstorming phase to save energy and time. Knowing this now has and will be extremely helpful for me in terms of visually communicating my initial ideas as this is something that I have struggled with previously.
“Learning to create mood boards will transform your pitching experience. Mood boards communicate a designer’s vision at the start of the project” — Paul Wyatt.
They can also be used to show competitor research for most holistic visual landscape. They act as a reminder of the original goal and defines key graphic elements (textures, illustrations, art direction, typography/fonts, colour palettes).
Mood Board Tips
1. Look beyond digital world — take photographs of textures, typography. Collect from magazines, materials, objects — this will help develop a style and avoids breach of copyright laws
2. Take photographs — captures thoughts, feelings, impressions
3. Get tactile — use different materials (cut, stick, rip, tape, collect objects)
4. Collaboration — keeps the whole team on track. A pictures speaks 1000 words and it is much easier to see visuals than have ideas explained verbally
TIP: when starting a mood board, choosing a Pantone colour to develop the board around can be useful in finding images and items that stick with a specific scheme.
During the lecture a 15 minute task was set — we had to create a mood board for a lifestyle brand that identifies with warm, summer, outdoors.
The above image is the mood board that I created. I got my photographs off Pinterest and Google Images as time was restricted but I know that for future reference I need to use other sources (including my own). When thinking of summer, warmth and the outdoors my mind immediately went to the colours orange and blue and I could picture healthy foods and the beach. I also associate the summer with peacefulness, tranquillity and positivity — thus being why I included the quote “Inspire people to live a better life”.
A second task was set to create a mood board outside of the lecture for our client feedback sessions (in week three). This activity was helpful as it allowed me to see other peoples work as they were shared in the share space on Microsoft Teams and some were discussed during the session. It helped me to see that I am on the right track with my ideas so I felt confident being able to take these new skills and apply them to my own project theme.