Deadlines force graphic designers to act, to focus, and to create. Without a deadline, projects can easily drag and lose momentum and the designer’s interest along the way. I find the most difficult logo projects are the ones for myself. If a client inched a job along the way I do when working on my own branding, I would go nuts. Like many designers, I feel limits are what drive inspiration and creative problem solving.
I recently completed both the idApostle and Processed Identity logos. While the Processed Identity logo was completed in a respectable two months, due to a deadline, the idApostle identity was kicked around, forgotten, revised, and obsessed over for almost one year.
As I worked on these two identities, two thoughts about time and my creative process came to light. I work best when time is limited in some aspects, and expanded in others. I do best when the project has a deadline and also allows time for reflection.
Limiting time sparks my creativity. Increasing time for reflection refines it. The act of putting a project aside for a few days enables me to look at it with fresh and critical eyes. After a few days away I will likely want to tweak something about the identity that I did not see before. What may seem like trivial changes, combine, resulting in a refined logo. Too often projects are rushed, and this time for reflection is squeezed out — often the first victim of a time crunch.
Time for reflection for both the graphic designer and client is essential in making an attempt to understand how a logo will settle into the minds of the intended audience. I suggest that while clients consider their first reaction, they also weigh how they feel about the logo a week later, as their audience will be looking at it for years. A week, or at the very least, a few days of reflection seems like time well spent to me. A small tweak to a logo is a change to every single time that logo will be seen in the future. Considering it this way can magnify the value of these changes.
The problem with reflection and a designer, however, is that most graphic designers would go on forever changing things. So the client brings that all-important creative limit, thankfully — a deadline. The balance between the two is what I will be looking for in the future.
Have you come to love deadlines? How do you encourage your clients to allow for reflection? Please share your comments using the form below.