We all have epic ideas. They’re either fleeting moments that happen at the most random times or thoughts that stick with us over days, weeks, months, or even years. Sometimes they disappear within as much time as it took to create them, or they just sit there… waiting to come to fruition. Unfortunately, as creators, we’re not given the luxury to wait for an idea to fall from the ether. And we don’t have a choice but to realize the concept promptly. We’re being paid to execute, and the idea must be worth its value. Money is time and time is invaluable. So how do we get there?
We call it discovery. A fancy name for research. Let's be honest. The wheel has yet to be invented twice. There’s a book titled “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon that goes in-depth on how to get inspired, the right way. You can find books on how to study. Same thing. Study how to study more effectively. Get inspired on how to become inspired more evocatively. We've honed in and fine-tuned our skills to discover what works, what might not work, and how to take what others have done, twist it, and turn it into something 40% unique and 60% proven. Riffin’ on that ratio.
For example, you’re working on a hotel. They ask for a logo. You tell them they need signage, business collateral, a website, social media assets, wallpaper, numbers on the elevator, a reception desk, and a handwritten letter on the nightstand for every guest who's lucky enough to get a room. It’s not a logo, it’s a brand. Logos won’t take you very far ( they’re all starting to look the fucking same anyway. Won’t get into that. Just thumb through the instagram. ) So we set out for discovery. Research I mean. Before the pencil hits the paper, we need to know what we’re leaning into. Let’s go visit hotels! Let’s see what others are doing and what resonates. Some things might work for them and not for us. Vice versa. But the point is to gather many microscopic ah-ha moments that merge into something brand new. Something that speaks to the client and their vision, because everything should feel and be personal, and something that speaks to the client or customer… relatable but holistically rip-roaring ( searched the powerthesaurus for a synonym = exciting ).
Carve time away to build a foundation for your idea and I guarantee it’ll take an ounce of your time to fully realize and become satisfied with the outcome. Notice that I said “satisfied" and it has nothing to do with perfection. Maybe another newsletter.
Discovery could mean reading magazines, watching old films, visiting a record store and thumbing through vinyl, taking a walk, talking to an old friend or mentor, going on a trip somewhere you’ve never been, or simply jotting down keywords or statements that revolve around your idea. Putting in a little work to flesh out your thoughts will undoubtedly spawn images and ideas that ultimately will feel like… they’re just falling from the ether.
You know what… you’ll also sound like a goddamn scholar if you can somehow have a comprehensive conversation about your process, your findings, and how you cozily arrived at a single conclusion. With clarity.
Tangent Warning: That being said, I hate showing 3 logos. I know it’s the industry norm and I succumb to it. But if I hire a tree fort pro to build me a killer tree fort. I want one killer tree fort. I don’t want their time cut in thirds to make me three half-ass tree forts that I need to choose from because I just paid him a ton of money and I want the best tree fort on the block. And I don’t want my kids to fall out. So there’s time to be spent on engineering, getting the right materials, and maybe some tree studies? I don’t know. Now I’m pretty sure I want a tree fort.
Anyway. Do your homework and come to the table with an idea that doesn’t need to be seen or questioned. If you can prove that you’ve put in the time, they’ll be happy they don’t have to.