Graphic Design/Planning


There are many ways of brainstorming and each person develops a adapted method for themselves. The method below is just one of many ways to find idea.

Word List MethodEdit

  1. Sit down with a pencil and several sheets of paper. Make a list of words that indicate emotions or ideas you want to convey;
    • leave lots of space.
  2. On another page make a hierarchical list of words related to the subject of the design.
  3. Using these two lists, free associate anything that pops into your head two to five levels deep.
    • This is not the time to rule things out.
  4. When the page is full and your mind is empty, squeeze another page out, frequently your best results will come only after you have gotten all the clichés out, and have to stretch to think of something.
    • Now you have between two and five pages of raw ideas.
  5. Refinement level one (collection)
    1. Pick one word from the first list and three unrelated words off the second list.
    2. Make a quick and dirty thumbnail sketch of the design that that collection of words makes you think of.
    3. Repeat 20-50 times (seriously, nobody gets brilliance every time, this is a numbers game.)
    • This is not the time to rule things out.
  6. Refinement level two (selection)
    • Now start ruling things out.
    1. Select the best three thumbnails
    2. Work up a colored pencil comp for each of them.
    • Sanity check, are all three worth pursuing? If not, go back and repeat any of the above steps until you have three outstanding comps.
  7. Refinement level three (Create the final product)
    1. Select a word from the first list (emotions and ideas to convey).
      • It does not need to be the same one you selected for the thumbnail.
    2. Organize the entire design around that one word.
      • Color choices, font choices, pictures or illustrations, the shape of blocks of text
      • Choice of medium (paper shape, size, type, quality, and color; T-shirt color, quality, and sleeve length; Giant foam finger color; other medium?)
      • What colors of inks? CMYK? black and metallic silver?
    • use that word to help you make every decision relating to this design.
  8. Refinement level 4 (Polish to a high shine)
    • Are all headlines adequately kerned?
    • Is everything aligned to a grid? Do you have an incredibly compelling reason for abandoning the grid?
    • Are there any orphans or widows?
    • Ask a small child what they would do differently. They haven't developed the habit of most adults of protecting your feelings.