When you plan on designing, the creative process plays a huge role whether you realize it or not. There are several angles that you have to account for before you start concocting your experiment:

SKETCHBOOK: This should never leave your side. Any ideas, images that come to your mind, write it down. You won’t remember everything and it’s a great way to keep track of your thought progression.

BRIEF: Think of this as “20 questions”. 20 questions that tell you everything you need to know about your project. What is it? Who is the client? What is the target demographic? What is the budget? What is the tone of the assignment? Those are just a few sample questions that the brief should contain. Depending on the industry, these will differ.

EXERCISES: Give yourself some brainstorming activities to get the brain going. Set a time limit and move on to the next exercise. Play some word association, mind mapping, or get a group of people to jot down ideas on a whiteboard. You might not get a pure idea yourself, but you can expand on the ideas of others. Collaboration is fun!

RESEARCH: Know your target demographic. What do they like? How are they most likely to react? What is your competition up to? Do you want to take a different approach than them? Or expand their methods further?

EXPERIENCE: Immerse yourself into the project. Say you’re working on a tea brand; go through the process of buying it, prepping it and drinking it. Write down the experience every step of the way: Who you were with, your mood, when you drank it and etc. Use those experiences and see if anything distinct comes out of it. Translate them into a strategy for your project.

TAKE A BREAK: Sometimes stepping away is also good for jump starting the mind. Maybe take a walk around your favourite Vancouver spot.

If you spend sufficient time building your foundation, you’ll begin to notice that your ideas and themes will have a stronger chance of coming into fruition. You’ll understand your client and target audience, develop your strategy, and then execute it to its fullest.