The Creative Curse

Creatives, entrepreneurs, and startup founder beware.

May 13, 2020

Creative minds, though responsible for new ideas and solving big problems, have a huge shadow: the inability to give those new ideas time. This is especially true in branding. It's almost inevitable that after going through a new brand identity, strategy, etc, the desire to change will pop up. A new idea will strike and it must manifest or it will go away.

But int he context of branding, assuming you do a good job, you have to resist. Branding is something that should remain consistent and be given its due before making massive overhauls.

Commons areas where this desire arises:

  • Expanding target markets
  • Redoing the the name or logo
  • Expanding a color palette
  • Adding new typefaces

Look, these things might need to change, but if you have to let them settle before you can make an informed decision as to whether or not they need to change. This doesn't mean you can't change small things, like experimenting with new ads, altering your layouts, running A/B tests, but it should all cohere to the strategy you are trying to implement.

Point being: resist your creative impulses to start something new before your previous task has been finished and given time to rest.

More you say?

"Do You Like it?" is a Stupid Question

And you should use this method instead.

5.7.2020

When doing design work, it's important to get feedback. However, the kind of feedback you get will make all the difference. Without beating around the bush, getting feedback that is entirely subjective is gonna end poorly, especially if you're trying to be different. The key is to be objective.

For example, when designing logos for clients, a client will often ask someone close to them: "which one do you like?"

Chances are, the respondent won't like any of them (for irrelevant reasons) or they mask the truth out of fear for hurting someone else's feelings. Either way, the feedback to this question is shit. Always.

Instead you have to think about the goals you are looking to achieve, such as aligning something like a logo to your brand. The best way to do this is what I like to call the binary method. If you know what you want someone to feel when they look at your company, then you can also define the opposite. If you want someone to feel edgy, modern, and sleek (you should define these in your own words, mind you) then the opposite of your goal would be to have them feel safe, nostalgic, and rough.

At this point you can ask, "does this feel more modern or nostalgic?"

Following up with "what makes you feel that way?" since the reasons might be extremely personal. Granted, a logo needs to be contextualized with other branded elements to get feedback on something like its alignment to the brand.

This goes far with getting valuable feedback that you can actual improve from and makes subjectivity less prevalent. Regardless of what design project you're working on, knowing what your goal is and the ability to articulate the opposite gives you framework for getting concrete answers.

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Sugar Balls and Whole Wheat Wonder

Customers want a solution, but will they buy it from you?

6.12.2020

In 1999, Kellogg's was seeing a shift toward healthy breakfast options. This meant that their top sellers like Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Pops, and Froot Loops (all of which are loaded with mass amounts of sugar) were becoming less and less desirable from consumers.

Now, Kellogg's could try and reposition their brand, which is known for these fun cereals. But it would take a long time, a lot of change, and hope that their fan base would still appreciate them. Or they could go a different route... like acquiring a La Jolla based company called Kashi that is already known for healthy breakfast cereals. They maintain their position and get to pump Kashi full of Kellogg's resources to gain more market share.

The point? Customers might need it, but you have to wonder whether or not they will buy it from you. Are you in a position to offer them a new solution? Will this new offering dilute your brand?

If you can't do it effectively, make a new brand.

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