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College of Design

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Coming up with great ideas

When I was trying to decide what I would write about this week, I thought I might do a day in the life. Then I decided this week is too hectic; I didn't want to scare anybody. So I thought I should write about a project I was working on up until today. Well, that morphed into this idea about design and where good ideas come from.

Basically, what I'm trying to illustrate is the fact that we seldom ever hit that one big idea on the first swing. In my copywriting course, my instructor always told us "If you need one headline, write 100. And then write more."

When I was in high school art classes, it was really easy just to get an idea and start to create it. Maybe the teacher came by and had some input on where to amp up the contrast in a value drawing to make something a little clearer, but they generally didn't tell you your idea needed more work or refinement once you had started.

Not so in design. It's definitely something that I think a lot of young designers struggle with, myself included. We just have an idea and we just want to do it, whether it's clear to other people or not. Well, depending on what the outcome of your design is, it might need to be able to talk to people without you being there. More often than not, it will need to talk without you being there.

So, to summarize, start thinking your ideas through early. Start asking people what they think of what you're doing more than you're used to. You'll gain a valuable skill and comfort level that will help you immensely come your first critique.

My friend Katie and I's Conspicuous Consumption artifacts. She created a paper bag (and I mean created) to put a spin on corporate entities controlling grocery stores; I literally made a journal of my lunch habits over a five-week period.

Patrick Puckett
Graphic Design BFA