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Creativity and Collaboration

I am in Pasadena, CA this week and lectured at the Art Center School of Design yesterday to a Brand Strategies class that is taught by Sherry Hoffman of M)Arch, a firm that specializes in branded architecture.

Over lunch we were talking about our experiences with the creative process when developing visual identities and how different graphic designers' approaches can be. Some designers have an incredibly strong intuitive sense for what will work, their experience and this design sense launches them to a solution immediately. On the other hand there are designers who, even though their intuition is guiding them, work more collaboratively and allow their client to be integrated into the design thinking process.

In my work I engage in a creative process that leads to a brand strategy. After doing all my research and interviews I have a strong idea of what an organization's IDEAL strategy and positioning should be for its brand. I can present this and feel very confident of its success, if executed in the spirit of the strategic approach. Or, I can bring the client along with me on the journey. Sure we will hit crossroads along the way, have heated debates...and the end result will not be what my intuition and deep experience would have lead us...but there is a difference, a few big differences in the two approaches. I have lived 20 years as a client and experienced both the intuitive-design approach and the collaborative approach. This is how it felt to me as a client.Perhaps that collaborative process won't get the absolutely ideal result. What it will deliver is a collaborative team effort that everyone is bought into. Everyone is on board and that momentum will drive even greater success in the execution. After all a great design or a great strategy is nothing without the execution.