Avoiding the Tired Old Solution While Keeping the Timid Client Happy

Five Ways to Keep Your Creative Teams Fresh but Faithful to the Marketer's Wishes

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We have all found ourselves churning out template solutions for clients who prefer the safe and familiar route, leaving us feeling drained of inspiration and pride. The creative team has to find ways to keep the client happy while taking the initiative to innovate, so a project can move forward in design and technology. Sometimes we end up just having to do what we're told, but here are five ways that can help you avoid falling back on the tried and true .

  • Look outside the box to create outside the box. It's always good to keep up with what competitors are doing, but sometimes creative inspiration can come from unexpected places. We follow work from the broader artistic community for inspiration in music, architecture, sculpture, performance art and beyond. Some of the most innovative solutions emerge when traditional fine art practices are adapted to digital media.

  • Find fresh ideas, fresh out of school. We involve even our newest teammates in the brainstorming process. The eager, still-inspired minds of recent graduates have a lot to offer. Creative directors appropriately take into consideration all that they know about clients, but mixing in a perspective not bounded by prior professional experience can lead to surprising results, beyond the limits of the familiar.

  • Remember that a stale team makes stale art. Some shops like to lock teams, but we find that rotating members daily or weekly ensures that we keep the talent on our projects fresh and inspired. Consistent leadership of a team guarantees that we are meeting the client's goals, but keeping the workload balanced, considering the best talent for each task and swapping teammates when the burn sets in leads to the best outcome.

  • Tap both sides of the brain. Be sure to keep the development team in the creative process. Their familiarity with what's new in technology, downtime research on geek blogs and tech sites, and desire to explore new platforms and languages positions them to contribute a vastly different perspective to the creative process. Bringing together both sides of the brain leads to more brain power.

  • Be a know-it-all. Some creative departments maintain firm lines separating designers who specialize in conception, animation or production. We believe the best work comes from artists who are not confined to a single skill set, but rather understand all parts of the process. Our designers are conceptual thinkers, but are also talented motion artists, proficient flash animators and junior programmers. Knowing how to complete the work from A to Z ensures they're always thinking from A to Z They know it all, and they consider it all.

Rex Cook is the founder and executive creative director of Avatar Labs.
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