One way to enhance your creative offerings to your client is to familiarize yourself with their area of business. During the initial meeting, learn as much as you can about how their business works and if they have any particular influences. Though as a graphic designer your fundamental job is to produce appropriate design work to communicate a key message, you may be able to extend your creative approach if you have some extra details about the industry or specifics about the company.
Often, when you research the industry, words, phrases and visuals will help you identify a unique angle to your project. Sometimes, just having a little background knowledge about your project can have a great influence on your work during the creative phase. Though you will probably use the internet for most of your research, consider using a variety of sources, including magazines, flyers, posters, books, and television advertisements. Information from the internet can be easily harvested through screen captures and bookmarks, image printouts, and of course, you can and should collect key word phrases and printed visuals in your project notebook. You might also want to conduct a stock image search on the internet, to help foster the creative process.
Another useful method (if appropriate) is to take photos in and around the premises of your client. This can provide additional visual cues you can draw from such as the architecture of the building or interior decor style to help inspire the designs.
We use a combination of physical sketchbooks, Evernote and Pinterest to capture inspirational material and notes. These tools are also useful when reflecting on your creative process to identify trains of thought and areas for improvement.
I hope this series is proving useful, please leave you comments below.
Until next time!