We begin our discussion looking deep at the four roles of the creative process inspired by Roger Von Oech, author of “Whack on the Side of the Head”
Within the four roles, there is play-time and work-time. The first two roles (Explorer and Artist) are in the play-time. The final two roles (Judge and Warrior) are in work-time.
As Lewis and Clark set out to map the Louisiana Purchase, they had no idea what they would be up against. Documenting every turn of the river, flora, fauna and the like.
As a creative, we gather ideas, images, concepts without any preconceived notions of result. This is very difficult to do. From birth we are taught about results from our actions. It is imperative that we do not stifle our creativity by thinking of outcomes from the exploration. Once you make a decision, creativity stops. This is the heart of PLAY.
The concept here is to gather as many ideas as possible. We use brainstorming and stream-of-consciousness techniques. We examine publications, websites and other arenas which we believe the target audience responds to positively.
For example, we have a customer who is looking to reach the high-end enthusiast who wants a nationally recognized award-winning vehicle built. We won’t use the social network or “rat-rod” magazines for fodder, but go to the museums, collections, and top-shelf magazines for our exploration. We look at Fortune, and other non-industry publications for design “advice” to match our design to the customer experience. We use the findings for the next role, The Artist.
In this role we begin to manipulate the ideas, concepts and findings from our exploration. Combining elements, subtracting elements, basically playing with the ideas without regard for any finished piece. Now, as I say that, I realize we all know how difficult it is to be completely bias-free. Before any creative role is approached there is some communication as to what an expected outcome will be. It is our job as the professional to keep those outcomes in the background and truly find something unique and compelling. Bring them forward only to stay on purpose, and in this play-stage, the purpose is to alter the findings from the Explorer role.
How do we do that? By thinking differently. A great example in “Whack on the Side of the Head” tells the story of the Gordian Knot. According to ancient prophecy, whoever could untie the knot was destined to become the King of Asia. All who tried failed to solve the complicated puzzle, then Alexander the Great had a turn. He tried like everyone before then reached for his sword and challenged the knot untying rules. Asia was fated to him. What rules can we challenge? We collage, paint, draw, thumbnail, outline and combine ideas in either a visible work of art or as a conceptual description depending on the project. We prepare for the big leap from the play time to work time as the next role of the Judge takes our manipulated ideas and decide which idea(s) may work with the desired outcome.
In this work role, we choose the best idea(s) for the application. What does “best idea” mean? We review the project parameters and look deep into what the desired outcome is. If we see that there is not a sufficient idea we may go back to the play stage to push ourselves further for more ideas. We analyze any data we have from the explorer stage to strategically choose ideas which can speak to the individual in a meaningful, emotional way. It has been proven that consumers (either trade or retail) buy when attracted on an emotional level. Experiential marketing such as championed at Starbucks, rely on this highly effective form of connecting with their consumer. We may bring in a focus or advisory group to help bring some ‘fresh blood’ to the mix. When completed we review the ideas and determine any final changes to make the desired outcome. Our goal is to prepare up to three different ideas for the client to choose/approve. And this sets us up for the final role, the Warrior.
The warrior implements the idea. Like a well-trained warrior, they implement a plan with efficiency and focused purpose. Focus is important in this role as, at-times, it is easy to stray while working the idea. The warrior will take his focused efforts and finish the idea(s) to client satisfaction. However, I have to caution. Prefaced desired project outcomes are to satisfy the client. When it comes to the subjectives of taste, style and design, it is the strict use of these roles which best attract the clients customers. And the customer has proven their reaction to the ideas from the research done in the Explorer role. By using design elements and style which we have saw were positively responded to by the consumer, in a now unique and new way, it is extrapolated that the customer will respond positively to our idea(s).
The warrior will also measure the effectiveness of the idea. With a variety of metrics available out there for each design project, the warrior can prepare a report of value for each design implementation. Some metrics are statistical in nature such as that of web, e-mail and direct mail campaigns, and others are more subjective, such as customer/industry feedback.
The Four Roles of the Creative Process are the backbone of the Blacktop Branding process dubbed “Intersection”. Now that we have implemented the ideas how do we truly evaluate it’s effectiveness? We have developed the Triad of Strategic Design Parameters. Take a look at the Emotional, Intellectual and Physical properties in idea analysis HERE.
How can we solve your creative dilemma? Give us a call and let’s put these proven techniques to work for you. Call Tony at 949-584-5669 to build your brand now.