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By Curt Cloninger

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Extra info for Hot-Wiring Your Creative Process: Strategies for print and new media designers (VOICES)

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Such design reads like a play without a plot. Even an absurdist play like Waiting for Godot still has a plot (two guys wait for a third guy who never shows),which is based on a theme (life is absurd). Can meaningful dialogue truly exist apart from a plot that drives and anchors it? Can meaningful design truly exist apart from a concept that drives and anchors it? 40 H O T-W IRING Y O UR C R E AT I V E P R O C E S S A good concept is rooted in and derived from the identified themes of the project.

At some point, however, you have to drop the research, become yourself, and actually get back to the task of designing. Let’s say you have to design a magazine advertisement for teen girls’ jeans. Your research indicates that your target demographic is listening to Britney Spears that year. Unless I’ve grossly misjudged my readership, your work probably won’t benefit from listening to Britney Spears for weeks on end. Too much role-playing eventually becomes counterproductive. You want to get into the heads of your audience to see things from their perspective, but you don’t want to “become” a 14-year-old female graphic designer.

RE V I S E Since user testing is at best a simulated situation, you’re not obliged to take every bit of unfiltered user feedback as gospel truth. Assess the feedback and improve upon the aspects of your design that you agree are problematic based on your broader understanding of the project’s goals. Revise the design and rebuild. BUIL D Develop the project to completion. Build it. Make it. Shoot it. Postproduce it. Code it. Composite it. Whatever. There may be interim, semifunctional demo versions along the way, but ultimately this step results in a final functional version that (according to your best guess) is ready to be distributed.

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