Dec 01, 2010

The Mental Process Behind Interactive Design at a Digital Agency

In Louisville, LEAP is one of the few precious agencies that excel at interactive marketing — in fact, we’re the only full-service digital agency. We’ve heard that it’s difficult for companies to find a local agency that knows how to implement successful digital elements, like interactive design — that is, until they meet us.

Largely, credit goes to the talented, creative minds that are staffed here. Coming from a background of media buying and planning, I’ve always been fascinated by the way our Creative department, specifically our Interactive Designers, come up with such powerful combinations of colors, shapes, fonts and textures—seemingly on a whim.

So, I decided to ask.

I picked the brain of interactive design expert, Constance Courts. With many years of design experience both offline and online, she shared her philosophy on the characteristics of a great creative mind and her process for finding inspiration.

“Inspiration doesn’t always come easily ... I am in the business of making suggestions.”

Constance is of the mindset that art, and specifically interactive design, requires a process. Constance recounts her four key steps to that process:

1)    Gather all the information you can: What is the brand? Who do they want to be and to whom? Why is that important to them? How does the brand want their target to feel when they visit the site? “The more I know, the better my suggestions!”

2)    Hash out “ding” words: “Ding” words are adjectives that spark specific images or tones, like whimsical or conservative.

3)    Keep up with and refer back to an idea book: “I keep a digital notebook of pictures, styles, fashions, fonts, color pairings and other visuals or sounds that pique my interest. When I’m really struggling for concepts, I refer to it. A creative mind is never at rest — you see and experience things in ways you can’t always explain.”

4)    Create rough sketches by pen or pencil first — then digitalize: Quick and very loose sketches help a creative mind decide how best to translate to a digital environment. Not every designer goes to pen and paper first because varied font styles and lifestyle images elicit different emotions but it’s handy for realizing what works and what doesn’t.

In the end, Constance admits that having a second and third pair of eyes to review her work is important. It not only helps her improve her work, but it also helps her learn how to articulate and assert her creative choices.

These, my friends, are the underlying philosophies and practices that make "magic" at LEAP.


[Post contributed by Emily Carroll]