Ready, steady, show me the pictures!
I have lost count of the number of times when either pitching for new business or meeting a prospective new client we are asked “Show me the pictures!” or, to put in another way, “Let’s see your creative solutions now.”
Whatever my professional opinion on the subject of creative pitches (free or not) it is my belief that producing creative solutions too early in the project is simply the wrong thing to do. No matter how talented the design team or how much a client ‘likes’ what he or she sees. Without a realisitic period of research, discovery and understanding. Without time to properly question and (sometimes re-write) the brief. Without a meeting of minds and collaboration between client and design team. Any solution will be mere styling and if it is chosen it will be for the wrong reasons.
I have a saying “We build the road before we drive it”. Meaning we need to know where we are going before we set off. Every project has an objective – so what are we trying to achieve? Who is the audience? What else is out there? And what does success look like?
In Japan when they undertake a large civil engineering project like a tunnel or a bridge, for example, they spend 80% of the time planning the project and 20% building it – but in the UK it’s the other way around! Perhaps that’s why so many UK projects are late and are invariably over budget.
Successful projects require a sound strategy. Do this first and the right creative solution will follow.