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creative Archives - d.trio marketing group

Analyzing art

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I recently painted a self-portrait and posted it to social media with the question, “Am I done?” I did this because, with the subject matter so close, I wasn’t sure I could see it objectively. There were an interesting array of responses but the one that intrigued me was from my friend and fellow artist, Jerome. He asked, “Do you think you’re done?” Which begs the question, in creative pursuits, why do you have to live with what is done in order to improve the results? And how do you know when to stop?

In creative development it’s important to have the time and the space to take a step back in the process and let objectivity settle in. This will make good creative great by revealing things that are not immediately obvious, things that it takes our brains some time to process. The reasons for this are based in the way we perceive and process information, as well as our interactions with the world – stored as past experiences. And the more experience you have with something, the more your gut instincts come into play.

There were times in my process where I thought I’d gotten something perfect, and the next time I saw my painting I’d see the proportions were off or the color was slightly wrong. What I was in love with yesterday (the masterpiece syndrome, my Carleton professor called it) today was sub-par. With time, small iterations, feedback and a little objectivity I finished my self-portrait, and I’m pleased with the results. If I had rushed through it, it may have been fine, but not the best it could be.

Designers have it harder than ever because the perception is, if the tools are easier to use, design must be easier than it used to be. The tools may help the technician be more accurate but they don’t drive the creative process, they facilitate it. We still need the talent, the gut instinct, objectivity and time to do our best work. Next time you have a creative project, give it a little extra time to develop and see for yourself.

Please let us know what you think, here or on Facebook and for more information on how the brain processes visual information click here:

http://piktochart.com/5-psychology-studies-that-tell-us-how-people-perceive-visual-information/

2014 Global Design Trends

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As a creative agency, we like to keep pulse on design trends.  Shutterstock, a technology company providing photos, illustrations and videos to creative professionals worldwide, has identified the following trends for the 2014.

1) Authentic and candid photography. Photos will feature a filtered look and subjects in real-life settings.

2) Simplistic, clean patterns with bright pops of color. Design and imagery will be tailored to local trends and preferences.

3) Flat design elements will dominate on websites and mobile platforms.  Flat design is guided by the principles of simplicity and readability. It features flat shapes and icons and with the absence of other design elements like shadows, strokes and gradients.

4) Image searches continue to be driven by topical events. For example, international events like the Winter Olympics and the Football World Cup will provide opportunities for topical images in 2014. Popular searches from 2013 include the following key words: Gatsby, 3D Printing, Make-up Set, International Women’s Day, Responsive Design, Adorable, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and Appetizing.

5) Motion graphics will focus on environmental issues. The following video clip categories experienced explosive growth last year:  Education, Transportation, Cityscapes, and 3D Renderings.

6) Fonts that appear to be handwritten or sketched will be very popular. Rising style favorites include Geometric, Signage-Inspired, and Analog.

Overall, images shared on social media channels represent what is popular in the world of business and visual communication.  Here’s the infographic:

Infographic: Shutterstock’s Global Design Trends 2014

http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/infographic-shutterstocks-global-design-trends-2014

Concept Graveyard – when great concepts aren’t

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I’ve been a designer for 14 years now (yikes!). During that time I’ve come up with some really good designs, some designs that weren’t my favorite but got the job done, and some concepts that I really, truly, loved. We typically show two to three concepts for each project (way more if it’s for logo design) and only one is usually chosen to move on to completion (unless there’s some Frankensteining of concepts). Which means that roughly 2/3 of all the work I do, good or not, amazing or not, perfect or not, goes… well, to the Concept Graveyard. It’s impossible to say how many concepts are in my personal Concept Graveyard but even with simplified math, it looks something like this:

14 years
2 new projects requiring concepts per month
2 concepts not chosen per project
672 concepts Graveyarded

And then let’s just assume that I’ve had two logo development projects a year, for which I likely show 12-15 concepts, the population of my Concept Graveyard is something more like 1,024.

Most of the time it’s just par for the course, I like all the concepts I show or I wouldn’t show them, so I’m usually pretty happy to have one of them chosen. But then there are those projects that really speak to me, where the creative brief is fun and inspiring and I have really, really good ideas. Sometimes these work out great, and sometimes the client decides to go another direction, or the budget dries up, or somebody’s boss kills the idea by insisting the dominant color be purple. Whatever happens, every once in a while really great work gets left behind where no one will ever see it. Sad? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Optimistically to be looked at as inspiration to do really fantastic work every time? … Ok, fine.

Here’s an example
The creative brief was something like this:
“We’re launching a new software tool and want to announce it with posters around the office. We want these to be cool and edgy and like movie posters, go ahead and really push the brand standards. Couple of themes you have to explore – a crystal ball and the idea of coming soon.”

Awesome (despite the crystal ball theme). I still had to keep in mind that this was for a major financial services company and they tend to be a bit conservative, but the gloves were off. I loved everything I came up with, and so did my direct client. But somebody’s boss’s boss wanted something else. And they got it. I got to see the finished project and it was nice. But I liked mine better. Which is what got me thinking about the idea of the Concept Graveyard and doing the math above in my head. Then I thought, well, why not let them see the light of day, even if it is only on the blog? So here they are, and I’ve started a Pinterest board called Concept Graveyard, feel free to contribute. I’ve removed logos and names to protect the innocent, do the same if you want to share.