Creativity Outside Your Comfort Zone

I’ve noticed something about my work.

1. I like to create designs that are appealing to me.

2. I can look back at my work and see when I learned a new technique, got a new plug-in, etc..

3. Here’s where my situation is unique. I get asked to create something and 90% of the time I have no approval process. I have had free reign for sermon videos, digital signage, sermon graphics, our web site and even a 20+ page catalog. I get asked to create something and no one finalizes or approves my designs.

I think it’s true for most creatives you have to learn how to design for other audiences besides yourself. I get requests from different groups in the church to design pieces for their groups. Some of them will give me a couple of Refrence pieces for color or style. Others give me non descriptive words like “fun”. I say non descriptive because we haven’t seen eye to eye in the past over what “fun” is.

So I’ve put together a small questionnaire to help me out when I get requests to design a printed piece or a video. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. List all elements needed and deadlines:
2. Do you have any footage you want used?
3. Do you have existing graphics you want used?
4. Do you have a promotional slogan or image?
1. Define target group you wish to appeal to most?
2. Describe any looks or styles you like or dislike.
3. Describe basic colors you like or dislike.

These questions were shortened from a list I got from Dean Valez.

So for you guys working in a create on demand environment. What have you found out that’s helpful for getting a good scope for a project?


August 5, 2008. Tags: , . Graphic Design, Personal Growth, Video.


  1. Brent Homer replied:

    Let me fill out the form for you (like my staff would)

    1. IDK..make sumting up
    2. can you shoot? or gphx?
    3. umm, bob might have him?
    4. Like last time
    5. church
    6. like a commerical I saw or pepsi ad
    7. colorful


    The problem with paperwork is, the typical person has no idea who their market is, or what they want. I just sort have been developing my own style book and working form that…no complaints yet anyway 🙂

  2. Dave replied:

    Creating my own style book is a good idea. It could at least give them something to flip through and point out what they like or don’t like.

    I really only have a problem with work I do for our Children’s Ministry. They like to be very hands on, but only at the end. They can’t visualize a final piece from a work in progress. So when they ask to see the progress of something and it’s not 90% they have usually vetoed it. So I don’t show them a work in progress anymore.

    Picking paint for their room was at least a 2 or 3 week process that involved several walls being repainted multiple times.

    They are very creative, but they have a hard time expressing to me what they want. So I’m trying to establish some kind of process to improve communication.

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