Visual Communicators – An Asset to Any Business.
You as a visual communicator are a good fit in any business. With or without a degree you have the qualities universities boast of and employers want; research skills, critical analysis, imagination, problem solving, independent thought, people skills, deadlines, communication, comprehension, big on technology, and most of all creative. Plus on top, you have graphics skills and valuable visual literacy. Perfectly suited to manage this moving image visually rich multi media information heavy networked world.
Visual Communications – The Process.
How it goes. You get a client. They want to make something happen using your skills which might be in any one or more media from illustration to printmaking, film, graphics, or animation, or any combination. The job is to be done and delivered, perhaps with the help of others, to a strict deadline and at a given cost. Big potential for all sorts of disagreements.
Agreeing a Brief.
This is the first part. Agreeing a brief with the client to work out what you have to deliver, what the intended objectives are and who the target audience is, to be completed at a certain time, and at what cost paid when.
Developing a brief helps you and the client both understand what is being sought to be delivered. Which makes it the beginning of the creative process.
It is also a written document mutually understood and agreed that will act as a compass to keep the project on track and can be referred to in case of disagreements. And very often will help to keep the peace.
Understanding and Communicating.
Understanding and Communicating is a core skill. It is essential. First of all, you need to use it to be certain that your client, any other professionals involved and yourself share the same understanding of the brief and what is in it: the scope of the budget, who the target audience is, what has to be achieved, what is to be delivered, and how, and where, and when. Never assume it’s understood. Always check.
Research and Enquiry.
Research and enquiry is food for your creativity. If you neglect or avoid it – your creativity will suffer and die. There are two types: primary research – where you dig down to fundamental sources; and secondary research – where you examine what other creatives made from their fundamental sources. Both are of value but the first is more rewarding creatively.
Problem solving generates ideas and this is where the objectives and restraints in your brief define, and in return are informed by your research and enquiry. From that melding friction of restraint and research, ideas are sought developed and tested (good or bad, better or worse) and the process repeated round and round until the options are narrowed and the best idea is selected.
Keeping an ideas book where this process is recorded is strongly recommended. Not scribbling down ideas at the time they occur guarantees you’ll quickly forget many. And then forget that you have forgotten. We are very good at that.
Imagination and Ideas.
Imagination is what generates good ideas and makes you creative. How creative will be demonstrated by the quality, innovation and insight of your ideas. It is not an arty magical process.
You just need to find ways to bypass your inner critic, judge, and censor, in the problem solving phase, to release unfiltered as many ideas as you can. And don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. There are methods you can use: mind mapping, doodling, daydreaming, sleeping on it, walking, meditating, dreaming, the six hats, lateral thinking, reverse brainstorming, zero draft.
Tools of the Trade.
Your creativity is not just in your head but it also involves your body and your body’s situation in the environment and the tools and materials it interacts with. When you explore with pencils, software, electronics, cameras, type, paint, inks, paper, stone, clay or whatever and evaluate iteratively as you go (good or bad, better or worse) towards a finished product the ‘doing’ feeds back and influences and re-defines your ideas.
The better your ability with those tools get, the better the evaluative choices you get to make, which in turn leads to a more refined idea and a superior finished product. Working in the physical develops and puts your ideas to the test like iron in a foundry.
The combination of tools each visual communicator uses varies with the individual concerned, or the team. The best way to grasp this is to understand some of the job titles these people inhabit. For example: Graphic Designer • Web Designer • Illustrator • Game Designer • Motion Titles Designer • Photographer • Typographer • Comic Artist • Animator • Interactive Designer • Printmaker • Exhibition Designer • Cartoonist • Model Maker • etc.
Through Visual Communications you can produce materials for broadcast publishing – Internet, film, animation and television; and product publishing – print, packaging, artefacts and signs. Your skills can be used in selling products and ideas; improving culture and the environment; easing learning and teaching; modifying behaviours and society.
You live in a world of targeted, well designed visual communications’ products manufactured for a purpose: billboards, ads, magazines, web sites, icons, signage, posters, maps, books, user interfaces, typefaces, easy to use teaching materials, diagrams, cartoons, animations, videos, graphs, illustrations, interactive teaching materials, warnings and warning icons, propaganda.
The work of those better designer usually goes unnoticed and unremarked upon because it modestly facilitates your actions, desires, purpose and use of your surroundings. Great design is often sadly unappreciated because it does its job quietly and well but you should make a conscious effort to notice it and learn from the better designers.
The products you did notice because they were difficult to use, unreadable, complex, cumbersome or ungainly – or were just so beautiful that they got in the way – were made by the worse designers. You can learn from them too.
The good and bad designers are those that do good or bad things through visual communications. Designers are taught ethics and designers sometimes have to choose. I for example refused to go into advertising which back then in my youth existed to sell tons of fags, fast cars, crap food and booze.
Visual Communications Visualised.
As shown above visual communicator are a good fit in any business. Their own profession requires them to be good at; research skills, critical analysis, imagination, problem solving, independent thought, people skills, deadlines, communication, comprehension, big on technology, and most of all creative. Plus on top, they have graphics skills and valuable visual literacy. Perfectly suited to manage this moving image visually rich multi media information heavy networked world.