Think first, design second. – By @isabellelj1

Think first, design second.

I have been developing my design and taking a lot more care on craft recently which I have been finding really satisfying. It feels like the right time to be honing in on my art direction.

People have mentioned in school and in scabs that they have struggled to not have the time to make everything look pretty, but for me that has been the opposite. Spending hours executing a piece where the idea wasn’t right didn’t make any sense to me. I knew that an ECD would look at my book and look past the craft and say the idea wasn’t right. I knew I had an eye, but I wasn’t confident enough to know what a good idea looked like before thinking about moving pixels on Photoshop.

Although I had been an art scholar at school I never had any design training and at the beginning of school and the ones who had been designers were lauded as the best art directors. To me, this was an oversight, because as important as making things look nice is, at this stage it should be all about the thinking.  Designers and art directors don’t equate to the same thing. Copywriters and art directors should be doing the same thing to a degree at this stage.

The thinking is the important part and the thinking is my favourite part. I love how advertising uses both the logical and creative sides of my brain.

But now, the ideas are falling into place it is time to work on craft and better executions. I need to push my executions and hone my design. Ian showed me illustration tools last week and Justin has been great in helping me visualise a campaign. I love finding visual references and bringing them in and asking them what went into it.

I spoke to Dave this morning, who said first to worry about what you say, and then think about the way you say it. 

So now I’m more confident with my strategies, I need to hone my expression of the strategies. I need to execute better in funnier, harsher and more out there ways and I need to make sure my design is up to scratch.

Everyone has their own approach and I like process. For a while it just felt like throwing sh*t at a wall and seeing what stuck. But now I understand what questions I need to ask.

I am excited that the process is falling into place and I have taken the opportunity to reach out to the people I admire in attempt to transcend the boundaries that lockdown has imposed on us. I emailed an art director whose work I admire, an art director Droga 5 in New York, who did ‘The truth is worth it’ New York Times campaign. It’s inspirational to speak to people who understand how to tap into a deep insight and follow it through to such a strong emotional execution.

Hopefully I can step up the ladder, and land my strategies the most colourful imaginative ways I can.

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