5 ingredients of a killer idea

It's a problem that daunts even the most seasoned of creative directors: how do you know a good idea when you see one? And how do you nurture that idea so that it can achieve its full potential?

To guide graphic designers through their creative process when it comes to developing a brand, the creative directors from London-based studio SomeOne, Laura Hussey and Rich Rhodes, sit down and walk us through as part of our video series with the agency.

01. It should be contagious

"It's like cayenne pepper: it hits you and then 20 minutes later you can't think of anything else," is Hussey’s analogy. "There's a buzz that goes around, everybody cottons on and feels the same thing." As it develops, lots of people will start chipping in with ideas.

02. It could come from anywhere

"We once had a designer who started with us and in the first week her idea got through," recalls Hussey. "We had a week to pull off the whole project. Some studios would take it away and give it to a more senior designer, but she got to work on it all the way through – it was just a brilliant idea and everyone bounced off it."

03. It must be flexible

For Hussey, a big idea needs to translate effortlessly across different touchpoints. "A brand world is a kit of parts; a toolbox; an operating system," she explains. "It's the stuff that flexes around the main idea, and can be completely different in each type of media. Smaller ideas are limited: that's where you end up not with a brand world, but just a logo, a typeface and a colour."

04. It can survive rigorous testing

To determine an idea's flexibility, you need to try it out in many different contexts. "Having experience in lots of different sectors is great," Hussey reflects. "Someone will say: 'Great, it works on the website, or in a brochure, or an app, but what would you do for pR? How does that work in retail?' We cross-pollinate all the different things that a brand world has to do."

05. It's prepared for the worst

Best-case scenarios are great, but for Hussey it's just as important to anticipate the worst. "What happens in the brand world if something disastrous happens? Does it fall apart? Can it cope? it’s not always about telling the story you want to tell," she warns.

This article was originally published in Computer Arts magazine issue 255. Buy it here.