I’m allowing you entry to my brain today, via my design sketches.
Now unless my computer is broken, I always design everything I create straight in the design software, but have heard from some designers that this isn’t ‘best practice’, so I thought one day (whilst I’ll admit it, suffering with creative block) that I would try the paper route first, just to see how it would go.
This was me following my own advice in ‘10 Tips To Shake Of A Creative Block‘ in which more than one of the tips suggests one should do something differently if wanting to shake off a block.
By paper route, I mean sketching out ideas on actual paper; old skool.
So I grabbed a piece of paper out of my printer and started doodling away as if on the telephone. These below are my completely unedited logo design brainstorming sketches for the Genius Retail brand.
Genius Retail was named by myself because the client was struggling to think of a memorable brand name to describe their services. A quick run down of their service and brand ethos is;
“Genius Retail will be targeting independent retailers, hospitality businesses and restaurants with their retail business consultancy services. Their target market will be mainly small independent retailers/small chains because Genius Retail feels that with the large corporates it’s next to impossible to build a real connection with the customer, and this is a key component of what Genius Retail will be offering retailers”
On with the sketches
I will try to explain most of the doodles on the page, finishing with the chosen doodle.
1. Now you can see GR initials dotted around the edges of the paper, and also the word ‘genius’ in upper case and lower case a few times. That’s me trying to assess if there is anything in the typography itself that jumps out as an obvious shape that a graphic can be born from. I didn’t find anything in particular.
2. Lets now go from left to right to describe the doodles. On the left you see some strange icons that quite frankly look like molar teeth. They are mean’t to be customers. That was a dead end.
3. To the right of the molar teeth people there is a rather strange doodle of the word ‘genius’ with a monster coming out of the E ….errrmm not sure where I was going with that one. Clearly a dead end, but a nice idea for another brand design project. For a firm that has an ‘E’ in their company name, and perhaps selling monsters.
Goodness to the upper right of that I even have another monster E sticking it’s tongue out. I can’t quite remember what my exact train of thought was there! It was a couple of weeks ago now since I’ve found time to write this.
4. To the right of the monster is a swirly G. I abandoned all thoughts of making the G interesting in some way pretty much straight away. I’ve seen that so many times on other logos, it’s too unoriginal.
5. Below the monster is the letter G on a podium …as if to say ‘customers on a pedestal’ but I decided that really this was far too comic book and funky in style for the target market. And whilst I also like the stick customer walking between the 3D ‘G and the R’ to the right of this (someone walking between buildings) again…too comic book.
6. So I drew a slightly better podium just above the person walking between the G and R buildings whilst thinking about pedestals and customers, and then I moved further into the concept of ‘loving my customer/on a pedestal’. So with this thought in mind, I shoved a heart on top of a building ….you can see that top right of the page. Clearly that cannot be the logo, it’s a stupid idea….
but it did lead me to another idea…..
7. Once I’d decided that a heart on a building wasn’t the right sort of idea, it got me to thinking that really it is STILL about ‘being the best’ and ‘loving your customer’ and ‘loving that retailer’ and ‘standing out from the crowd’ (retailer on the pedestal in the customers eyes)
So that’s when I doodled what you see on the upper left. I decided that a line of buildings with a building in the middle shining out from the rest would represent that Genius Retail can make your retail establishment stand out amongst the others. Which, when you are on a busy high street (three buildings in a row to represent this) is what you need – to be seen, to be noticed, for customers to want to walk into your shop/restaurant/hotel above all the others.
So that’s when I excitedly dashed from the paper to my design software, and this below was born. Notice the ‘red carpet’ running up to the rather special glowing shop/restaurant/hotel in the middle; the Genius Retail clients premises.
Paper or PC? Which Is Best?
So in conclusion, one can yes turn out an interesting concept by working on paper first. But I personally don’t feel it’s necessarily any quicker or better a method compared to working straight in the software and feel that it’s probably just a matter of personal choice and ‘what one is used to’.
For the purposes of getting out of my creative block I decided to design in a way that I’m not used to, and it did indeed get me out of my creative block pretty fast!
What have you done recently to get out of a creative block?