London studio Peepshow Collective this week reports that it met with several obstacles while creating the new on-screen look for BBC2’s Culture Show (see designweek.co.uk). What’s been the biggest creative obstacle you’ve had to overcome on a project, and how did you get around it?
Cultural orthodoxies are the biggest obstacles to creativity. ‘But we always do it this way…’ is what the service personnel of a major travel organisation said before we got them directly involved in the design process for their new café. By having them help build ‘their’ prototype, they took ownership of the solution. Everybody understood the issues and felt empowered to contribute ideas. ‘Design’ was demystified and they saw the value and power of the creative approach. We just sat back and counted the money.
Richard Eisermann, Strategic director, Prospect
Whatever the project, there will always be restrictions on creativity – whether it’s the licensing of images, printing constraints, crazy deadlines or just a simple lack of budget. But rather than seeing these as obstacles, the canny designer uses them to refine the creative brief. And the more focused the brief becomes, the easier it is to uncover the idea that solves the problem. Often the most successful solution is the one that tackles those restrictions head on.
Mark Girvan, Creative partner, Buddy
I can’t think of a job that hasn’t had obstacles, they seem to appear at every stage. Whether it’s at briefing, when the client wants to use the lovely watercolour logo his daughter designed, or at production, when a printer has taken the liberty of varnishing my entire print job because he was sure I’d love it (I didn’t). And all the others that happen in-between. But how do you get round them? Be nice, persuasive and justify your reasons. If that fails, just be stubborn.
Lee Bennett, Senior designer, Propaganda
We enjoy pushing technology creatively, but it has its dangerous moments. The most tense was being on a plane to Outer Mongolia to do a world’s first broadcast via satellite. I had to videophone into Peter Snow at the BBC1 studio using the system we pioneered. Problem was we hadn’t actually got the hardware and software talking to each other when I boarded. It was a long flight. The way around it was to think lo-tech rather than hi-tech. You can often make more progress by making things simpler.
Ben Wolstenholme, Creative director, Moving Brands