Brainstorming in Graphic Design

Before you even begin to create a first version of a design in graphics software, it is important to harness your creativity to come up with concepts and ideas for a project. Unless the winning idea simply pops into your head (it has been known to happen), it is often difficult to sit down and start designing without a brainstorming session.

The Goal of Brainstorming

The goal of brainstorming is to throw out any and all ideas related to a project, eventually leading to one or several to take further.

This is certainly not the time to hold back… ideas that may seem risky, unrealistic or even downright stupid should be jotted down. Any one of them can lead to your best work. These ideas can be:

  • Overall concepts and styles
  • Layouts
  • Color schemes
  • Images
  • Typeface options
  • Project goals
  • Ideas related to the mood or emotional feel of the work

This list goes on. Just remember to record everything, and worry about trimming it down later.

Who to Brainstorm With

Brainstorming can be done alone or with anyone who is willing to listen to, and contribute to, the brainstorming process. This includes:

  • Other designers and creative professionals
  • Co-workers
  • The client
  • People in an industry related to the project
  • Family
  • Friends

You never know who will help lead you on the train of thought towards a final idea.

How to Brainstorm

All you need to brainstorm is a pad and pencil. Whether you are alone or in a group, brainstorming includes:
  • Writing down any idea that comes up
  • Doodling or sketching
  • Relating ideas to the goal of the project
  • Elaborating on concepts that are the most promising
  • Looking for connections between your ideas
  • Combining ideas and concepts that are related

While brainstorming continues throughout the design process, you can consider yourself done with the initial brainstorm when you feel you have the right ideas and concepts to move forward.

Don’t hesitate to take a break or go straight through the night… you never know when the right idea will strike.