Strengthening Voice Through Visuals

With deadlines getting tighter and budgets getting crunched, it seems that the concept of art directing an original image is becoming a thing of the past. But as much as type and color are part of a brand, so is imagery. When a creative team takes into consideration the value of a directed approach to photography and illustration, whether it is in a marketing brochure or a publication, the brand is strengthened. But the process requires time and teamwork. Here are some tips for a successful collaboration.
Start early. In order to have time for the creative process, it is important to start discussions with your editorial team early on. Because this means starting weeks ahead of time, not days, it usually requires reviewing copy in a rough stage and sometimes just an article outline.

Take time to conceptualize visuals. Brainstorm beyond your first idea. Think about different ways that visuals could enhance the material: For illustrations, what style would be suitable? If you’re using photography, would color be better, or black and white? Would incorporating infographics be appropriate? Uncover the theme of the material and develop ideas that will bring the core message to the surface.

Brainstorm with your team.
Discuss the goals of the piece. What is the message, and how can that message be conveyed visually? Be willing to share ideas, even ones that might not come to fruition—one person’s initial thought can evolve into a well-developed concept. It can be tempting to try to come up with a final solution quickly, but it is important to remain open to ideas at this stage.

Begin the creation of imagery. If you are used to working with stock photos, creating the imagery can be a nerve-wracking process. You are now responsible for developing the perfect image, not retrofitting an existing one. You have to find the right artist to visualize your message and communicate it clearly. You don’t want to stifle the artist’s creativity, but you also want to make sure that he or she understands the editorial direction. Most illustrators share sketches, and this allows for a checkpoint on direction. But unlike stock, you can’t alter what you get in the end, so the direction needs to be clear.

Don’t forget the editorial. The collaborative process of creating imagery means that multiple creative people are bringing their talents to the project. Be open to direction and look at strengthening the piece by fine-tuning the editorial after the final imagery is delivered. It is that last touch that can take a piece to the next level.

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  1. By It’s More Than a Blog on September 30, 2009 at 7:34 am

    [...] our May/June issue of 2connect, we discussed the benefits of using blogging software to take your publication online, including the ability to share content [...]

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