The other day a design came across my desk for coordinated letterhead, business cards, post cards, and pens. It was colorful, creative, and stimulating. Or maybe I should say over-stimulating. My eyes didn’t really know where to focus. Four different fonts were used in different areas, six different colors, and there were graphics and text all over the place. What should have been a blank piece of letterhead someone would be able to type a letter on looked more like a TV screen of a news network broadcast with a stock ticker along the bottom, a news ticker at the top, a weather map on the side, and a bullet-point graphic seemingly growing out of the news anchor’s head. It was simply too much. And, anyway, how was I ever supposed to get all that on a pen?
It got me thinking – why is that a bunch of good ideas aren’t as good as one good idea? And how can a designer feel free to expand his or her creativity while narrowing the focus?
The approach of throwing everything up and seeing what sticks is great if you’re talking about a brainstorming session and a whiteboard. It’s not a great approach if you’re talking about a thousand printed sheets of 28-lb linen paper. So instead of thinking in terms of limiting your freewheeling ideas, think of letting your ideas fly, but only in an early stage of the process. In other words, as many crazy ideas as you can come up with the better. But don’t print there. Take it a few steps farther. Continue reading