When it comes to design, has it all been done before?
Short answer: probably.
Staying original in a world saturated with great design is critical to businesses and their brands to remain relevant.
In our recent blog post by Brent, he addressed the struggle businesses are facing grabbing their audience's attention in a world flooded with logos, branding, taglines and advertisements, and how animation can be a powerful tool in achieving customer attention as a solution to help with this.
So, what about the brains behind the creative solutions? How do we maintain a fresh perspective to continue to produce and deliver original work for our clients, especially when it comes to those who are all in the same industry?
I’ll tell you how. It’s not rocket science, but each and every step below is crucial to keeping our creative juices flowing and allowing us to deliver the same subject or topic, in multiple ways.
1. Research and gather inspo
The first step in creating original work is to research and gather inspiration. Checking out what other businesses within the same sector are doing, attending events and keeping up with industry trends, pinning on Pinterest or taking a walk in the bush… whatever your medium, gathering inspiration helps you broaden your perspective and develop new ideas.
Be wary though, the balance between looking at helpful inspiration to generate ideas and going down a Pinterest wormhole (muddying all of your original thoughts) can be a fine line! Decipher how much research you can handle and be strict with your timing! The amount of time dedicated to the research stage will differ depending on the type of project and your knowledge of the industry. For a new branding project, for example, 1 hour - 1.5 hours can be sufficient (or if you’re anything like me, you spend days in the lead up to project commencement thinking about ideas in bed at 3am, or whilst taking a shower, or on the daily commute).
2. Stay true to your style
“Maybe it has been done before. But it hasn’t been done
by you.” – Ward Andrews
It is essential to develop a unique style that is true to your voice as a creative. When you stay true to your style, it becomes easier to produce original work that sets designs apart from others. Trying to mimic someone else’s style or follow trends blindly can lead you down a rocky path. Instead, find your unique voice and stay true to it.
3. Collaboration at the core
Collaboration with other creatives is an excellent way to generate original ideas. By bouncing ideas off each other, you can create something that is entirely unique. Collaborating with people from different backgrounds and disciplines can also help you see your work from a fresh perspective. Take the Banter creative team for instance, Sasha has worked in the Australian Music Industry, Fran at 9MSN, Tess in fashion, Brent is an ah-mazing animator and Rachel is a brilliant illustrator with a marketing background.We all have different perspectives and strengths based on our experiences.
4. TAKE THOSE BREAKS
Working non-stop on a project can cause burnout – this goes for any professional in any industry! Taking breaks to clear your mind and coming back with a fresh perspective is GOLD. Told you, it’s not rocket science, but even 5 minutes of fresh air is so valuable. Take a walk, listen to music, doing a box breathing exercise, or do something unrelated to your project helps generate new ideas and avoid spiralling.
Checkout The Everyday Essential for some practical health and wellbeing tips you can implement on your own.
5. Experiment with different techniques
Now, this one isn’t always possible as we usually work to a deadline however where we can, experimenting with different techniques can help you discover new ways to approach a project. Some ideas:
- Try using different materials - like when it comes to print work, try new paper stocks, or special finishes such as foiling. There are specific considerations that need to be made in the design process (ie - if you’re foiling something, there are size and area weight restrictions to be away of) dependant on the output and it’s always fascinating to learn about these techniques!
- Using new software - Figma is fantastic for web and UI design
- Or trying a new creative process. Changing up the order in which you implement stages of your design projects is a great start - although I know it can be tricky to mess with something that feels safe! I’ve recently done this when working on a brand and logo project. My process is the same each time:
- pen to paper logo development.
- digital design of logo.
- fleshing out brand elements and design.
- pulling it all together.
The last brand I worked on I decided to swap the order of 3 and 4 in my process, working on the brand development first which then informed the final logo design. It felt wild, and slightly outside of my comfort zone but it worked so well for this project and I felt a great sense of achievement at the end. (By the way, did you know that a logo is not a brand? More here on this.)
Experimentation can help you find a unique approach to your work, which leads to original creations.
Recently, during an internal education session, Sasha shared his wisdom with the rest of the designers on his creative process to keep projects on track. Each of us took away little nuggets from his advice to adapt within our own creative process which has helped us with efficiencies (this is where I got the idea to change up my creative process mentioned above). It’s always very exciting when you discover something new which helps you to improve your process!
To sum it all up, keeping creative work original requires a combination of research, collaboration, experimentation, and staying true to your style. By following these tips, you can produce work that is unique and stands out from the crowd. Remember that originality is not just about being different, but also about expressing your unique voice as a creative.