art director

5 reasons a designer should graduate college

More and more I hear influential people talking about graduating college as a waste of time. There are even "scholarships" for not attending college. I think this is the wrong direction to go and here are my five reasons why a designer should graduate a college or university.

Relaunch of my portfolio site – part 1: Own portfolio site vs. online portfolio site

There are beautiful portfolio sites out there in the web and I wanted to redo my portfolio site - but I had a few thoughts

How to broaden a tv audience - why Sci-Fi has become SyFy

In various posts around the web you can find opinions on the new identity of the tv channel SyFy - formerly known as Sci-Fi Channel. While I don't want to go into the design details I want to express some thoughts why the probably made this change.

Don't try harder

Sometimes things just won't work. You made a nice communication concept, build a campaign and everything the execution was impeccable. But when you and your client look at the results they don't meet the expectations. Now what should you do? Normally we would think that we would try harder - but you shouldn't.

Finding the right jobs for your trainee

I had in the past problems finding the right jobs for the trainees as I was caught up in my daily routine and when they actually showed up at my desk I wondered what would fit. I therefore setup a routine for finding jobs around the year to have them ready. Find out how I did it and the 3 rules for successfully managing a graphic design trainee.

Retouching to cut photo shooting costs?

As an art director one of your jobs is to ensure that the quality of the final product lives up to the standard you set. To ensure this quality you have to look at all aspects. We already discussed the copywriting part, now let's look at the photography.

The art director as a coach

Get more time for research and creativity by coaching your team to the next level of graphic design. I show you how to find the right balance between being a coworker and leading the team to success.

Establishing your role as an art director

Leading a graphic design team is never easy. How do you relate to your team, how should it be organized? Here some real live expiriences.

Your client is not a copywriter

As a graphic designer you don't care much about the text, it’s not your business - as an art director you must care about it. Here are some tips on how you understand if a text it’s good enough and how you convince your client that is worthwhile having a copywriter do the job.

5 Myths about the Creative Brief

You maybe know the saying: "If you don't know where you are going, the road takes you there." So you end up somewhere without knowing if its the right place. In the graphic design and advertising business this is the last thing you want to happen. You don't want to present to your client a product, which doesn't get the point your client wanted to communicate. Did you misunderstand the briefing? Did your creativity lead you out of the boundaries your client want to accept. To know what happened, and even better to avoid such a thing to happen you need a creative brief. I know what you are thinking, so lets start and destroy some myths about the creative brief.

Creative briefs are too complicated

You don't have to start with the high profile creative brief. If you are not used to make one start slowly. Just put on it the most basic things. Client Details, the responsible persons in the clients firm and in your firm. The main goal of the project in 1 or 2 sentences. A short abstract of the briefing. The dates of the steps. You can build a form for it so you just have to fill it out. Later when you get used to it you can expand it.

A creative brief is to abstract to help you

This is really a pitfall for most creative briefs. The balance between writing about the facts and to not limit the creative output. You should in the beginning stay pretty down to earth and later on you can write a little bit more abstract. For example if your client wants a flyer for a sale - write in the creative brief "Flyer for a sale" instead of "Promote a sale". If you want it to be more open write "Cheap way to promote a sale". So don't misunderstand the term creative brief.

Writing a creative brief is lost time

In fact you save time. Think about the time lost when you have to redo a project because you where mislead. It also helps you to get back into a project if some time passed since you last worked on it. Its common that you start a job and it passes a couple of weeks before you really work on it because you did not have all the materials. By the way, you get usually faster the more creative briefs you do. And don't forget, you do for yourself already a creative brief when you read the brief and rearrange the information in your head, you just don't put it on paper.

A creative brief is only for internal use

Use the creative brief as a the rebriefing tool. Rebriefing is the process where you send your client before you start an abstract of the briefing to confirm that you understand everything. By sending the creative brief to your client you show that you are a professional and you show that its important for you to make your client happy.

Creative Briefs are cure for everything

A creative brief is just a starting point. Its the launch pad for your ideas but it does not show you the solution. It will help you keep on track, but its not a creative technique. Just by doing the creative brief you maybe not get a better result but you will get consistent products. Its part of a workflow, its not the workflow. So if you write a creative brief and you don't stick to it or you haven't got the process managed than its useless.

Some resources for you reading

So you got interested in writing a creative brief. Good. Here are some links to example creative briefs and some further theory. Pick the parts you like and build your own that fits your needs.

How to use studies to improve you projects

Where to find studies, how to make project and art director relevant conclusions and how to use them in your creative process. With creative Examples.