"What works well for me is to fill up the bucket in my mind, first." says Harry Macheras owner of Happy Artists. "Then I'll review the business objectives, audience, key ideas, competitors and so on. Then i like to brainstorm with word associations, tone or definitions. I prefer to develop concepts with copywriters because they have a great ability to think of ideas and meaning, instead of just a visually cool layout. Then i look for the all-important or big picture idea from which the piece or pieces can grow out."
The trick is to work quickly from the start. This method allows time to step away from the project and come back with a fresh approach. What that does is allow us to get a lot of those ideas down as they come. We then have the benefit of setting it aside and coming back to it later to evaluate the ideas. One of the secrets of design is that there are classic rules for a layout, those we learn at design school, but those rules can be shaped or broken. That is our mission as designers, knowing exactly when and how to shape or break the rules.
Its so pleasurable to actually clean out the files when you finish something. The whole process is that way_its sketches, conversations, collecting some of the things, getting to the first images, cutting them out, and pasting them on paper. We do color scheme and typography studies and when we hit on the right idea, we just execute it!
The subject drives our process!
Typically, we work in opposites; each idea is a character foil for another idea. Therefore, we present as many good characters as come out of our design process, whether it be one, two or five. We change everything all the time. We dig deep into the subject and adapt accordingly. "The subject drives our process!"