We’ve all been there. It’s 3:00 am and you’re just finishing that project you have been working on for weeks. You’re confident, and you can’t wait to present your idea tomorrow. The next day comes, and you make your presentation, thinking you have it in the bag – but then someone says,”I have a question.”
This is where your creative rationale comes in. A creative rationale is a quick overview of why you made the decisions you did and how they relate to your project’s goal. These can be as formal as a written paragraph document, or a collection of notes that you have taken through your creative process. Either way, taking the time to work through your creative process can have huge benefits. Not only do you have your thoughts organized, but you can also offer a reasoning of why your design will work.
Because being creative is usually such an organic process, their is always a risk of using something that “just looks nice” as opposed to making a choice for a reason. Here are a couple of rationale elements to consider when designing:
What is the meaning behind certain shapes or icons in the design? Did you use an octagon because the number 8 has significance?
Is there a specific emotion your going for? If you are designing a logo for a horror movie, do you want it to look frenzied or gothic? Do you want the viewer to have a certain feeling when they see it?
Why did you use this style? Are you trying for a retro look? Or a sleek modern look? How does it relate to the company?
How does the type relate to the design, and how does it relate to the company? Ex. A lawyer’s office may want a tall and classic font to resemble columns.
Make sure the design relates to the company’s personality, values and goals. Although you may think that the design is great, if the client can’t relate to it, or if it doesn’t represent the company well, the design is unsuccessful.
Why did you choose the colors you did? What do the colors represent? Did you use any of the company’s colors in the design or use any variants of the color scheme?
Because being creative is usually such an organic process, their is always a risk of using something that ‘just looks nice’ as opposed to making a choice for a reason.
When you are designing, always keep a piece of paper next to you and write down your thoughts and steps through designing. This makes writing a rationale easy and effortless and will keep you focused on your goal for the design. It will also serve as a great guide for writing a rationale that you can give to the client or account services person, which I know from experience, they will love you for.
In any project you should always include a rationale because their is no downside to it. For you, it will improve your communication skills and provide you with bullet points to guide you though talking about your creative process. For a client, it will provide a clear understanding of why you did what you did, and it may just change how they look at the design.