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How do I judge creative?

Short Read

Let’s be honest, judging creativity is tricky. It’s hard to stay objective or put yourself in the shoes of the target consumer. Therefore it’s a difficult task to judge the potential business success of creativity, especially when presented with numerous concepts for brand identities or visual design.

Creative design often sparks an emotional reaction which is often difficult to articulate and separate from the individual’s own experiences or biases. This is exactly why it’s so successful in creating emotional connections with audiences but does mean it’s hard to judge objectively during development! In our experience, the key is to set objective judging criteria that align to the vision of your business/organisation and KPIs for the project. The criteria should address; appropriateness for different audiences, competitor differentiation, customer needs, memorability, the flexibility of rollout across communications. Ideally these are set at the start of any creative project to enable designers to work to a clear set of requirements. After the concepts have been presented, the judging criteria can be used to help determine a direction for the project. We like to ask people to give a simple score out of 4
(this prevents anyone from sitting on the fence and voting down the middle).

Some example questions when judging visual identity creative could be:

• Does it meet the emotional needs of the audience?
• How consistently does it translate to all customer touchpoints?
• Does it align to the business vision and future objectives?
• How differentiated is it from competitors?

Who should be involved in the judging process and decision making?

This often varies from business to business. We’ve worked with small startups who have one key stakeholder and decision maker to large global projects with stakeholders from different businesses, functions and geographies. There is sometimes a desire to get opinions from others, either internal teams or even external friends and family. Our advice would be to create an internal brand engagement team that will be involved in the project from the start and be taken along the journey of the design challenge. They will be your designated decision makers. The problem with creative is that everyone has an opinion; we have found that using this objective judging criteria method helps to remove the subjective opinion and put the focus on the end user – enabling decisions to be unbiased and relevant to the business needs. The success of this method has been proven over and over again with our clients. Now, why not try it out yourself?

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