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Patience, Planning & Pleasing

As a creative director, I often find that waiting is a difficult, but necessary part of the design process. I’ve noticed that I’m typically the most creative when I initially hear the parameters of a project. This eagerness is helpful in one respect because it helps me sustain interest in the topic. However, the initial vision that’s formed doesn’t always match up with findings later in a project. This semester I’ve been working to develop a new, step-by-step process for myself that will help with the creative work for BrandJRNY. The goal is to allow my natural creative process to flow, but within a newly refined, organized, and direct approach. You can read the 5 steps below to understand more about my new process.


The creative process at work. | Source: Claire Hemme

1. Hear it: Listen to the ideas, data, and opinions that are found within the project. Pay close attention to “do’s and don’ts” to avoid offending anyone or ignoring important aspects. Take all perspectives into account.


2. Write it down: Consider the information you know. When ideas begin forming, even small ones, write them down descriptively. Don’t confine yourself to anything just yet. If you think it, write it. Rule things out later, but never discredit the initial thought process. (Make sure to include enough detail to remember what direction you were going when you wrote it down.)


3. See it: Take the concepts you’ve been forming and start to form a vision. Look at the notes you’ve written alongside the data you’ve been presented. Take a minute to look at some of the imagery that might be available to you. Let all of these elements produce images in your mind, and consider different ways of looking at each one. This brainstorming process can also mean researching your concept online to gather inspiration from other resources that might share similar characteristics.


4. Sketch and adapt: Once you’ve formed some visions in your mind, start making them come to life. Grab some blank paper and get messy. This part of the process is strictly for organizing all of you thoughts and turning them into the concepts that will guide your final design process. This step is my favorite because you’re finally getting to put your ideas into action. In order for this to be successful, it’s essential to let yourself freely exercise these ideas, form new ones, and find what truly works. The results might look completely different from what you envisioned, and that’s okay!


5. Execute: Make it happen. Take your notes, sketches, and parameters and put them all out in front of you. It is a good idea to print everything out and highlight what is important to make sure you’re honoring the project mandatories. It’s time to combine all of the previously mentioned steps and make your vision a reality. (Take into account that this final step will likely take longer than you initially estimate so pencil in a few extra hours than you think you’ll need.)


This process has helped me become a better designer by forcing me to take my time, think things through, and consider what the client needs. It might take longer than expected, push you to your limits, and present new obstacles, but designing for a community is one of the most fulfilling creative experiences I’ve ever had. I’m most grateful for my personal growth as a creator, and I’m incredibly eager to see the results of our work in Point Pleasant.


“My name is Claire Hemme, and I am the Creative Director for the BrandJRNY capstone team. If I’m not cooking or coffee-ing, you can find me in the woods somewhere.” — @shimmyhemme

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Housed at the WVU Media Innovation Center, BrandJRNY is a community branding initiative that is a grant-funded collaboration between the American Electric Power Foundation and WVU Reed College of Media.

The Initiative was previously funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for our three pilot projects.

Original website designed by Mariah Elliott, under the direction of PI and Director Dr. Rita Colistra.

Photos and content may not be used without written permission by contacting brandjrny@gmail.com.

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