That's Word: An Examination of Creative Terminology


Aaron Antonio, Brand Strategist

Apr 2022


“For words are of themselves a creative force.”

Hello friends, and welcome to That’s Word — an ongoing series where we define creative terminology. If you’re a creative professional then these are probably the words and ideas you should master. And aside from clarifying what they mean, we’ll shine some perspective on each concept through our own experiences as a young agency.

Each post in this article series will examine a new set seven of words, so use it to brush up, internalize ideas, or learn something new. [cue the music]

Intentional Inspiration (n.)

The cultural business practice of recreationally consuming art, entertainment, culture, music and experiences with the intent of nurturing your perspective. By expanding your creative frame of reference, you not only sharpen your creative thinking skills, but you increase your human empathy — two things needed to produce quality work and avoid burnout.

This can be put into practice in different ways, but at Vidi we’re pretty aggressive with it. The key word here is recreation. So whatever activity you implement, it should be an enjoyable one, without guilt or any “business agenda”. For us that means going to hip hop shows, seeing the Chris Nolan film in IMAX, or spending the work day at the Basquiat exhibit — all business investments worth more than their weight in gold.

Branding (n.)

Branding is the creation of an identity for your products or services in the minds of customers. Simply put, your brand is the experience that you promise to your customers. As a discipline of marketing, it’s used to shape how people perceive your business or organization in comparison to your competitors.

“bRaNdiNg iS mOre tHan A LoGo” — if you’re still using this line then you’re probably talking to the wrong clients. Yes, brands are identified by their logo, colors, and typography. And most clients only understand things in terms of design deliverables. But those are also the same type of clients who probably want a logo for less than $200. Educating clients will always be a part of the job, but qualified clients will understand that branding is strategy. And strategy takes time (aka costs money). If you’re being brought on to build a brand then your client should view you as a thought partner, not a vendor. You’re helping make business decisions and craft the experience of their products/services.

Let’s look at Starbucks. Their brand isn’t their logo. It’s the fact that they brew a new batch of coffee every 15 minutes. It’s the careful curation of lite-bite menu items. And it’s most certainly the cozy ambiance.

Creative Brief (n.)

A creative brief is a document that’s used to outline the strategy and creative approach to specific creative deliverables.

A good creative brief will do two things at once: provide enough direction to meet the client’s objectives and allow the creative team enough freedom to interpret ideas in their own way.

The creative brief serves as an agreement between you and the client. In our process, we learned to have our clients review and sign the creative brief as a binding document. So when the revision phase comes around, any requested changes are made objectively towards the stated goals of the brief, rather than off the subjective personal whims of a client’s preference.

Brand Manifesto (n.)

Also referred to as a brand anthem, a brand manifesto is a written declaration of who your brand is and the philosophical reasons for why it exists. It’s one concise paragraph that defines the beliefs, values, personality, and culture of your brand.

In addition to giving that wow factor for clients, brand manifestos act as a demonstration for external copy. The voice and tone in your manifesto should act as a reference to how future copy should feel and sound. What you write in the manifesto is proof that you’ve listened to your client and that you understand the spirit of who they are.

Pro Tip: when presenting this to a client, first explain to them what the manifesto is, then read it out loud, passionately. This makes all the difference.

Design Thinking (n.)

Design thinking is a process for solving problems by prioritizing the customer’s needs above all else. By focusing on empathy and observation we’re able to build creative solutions for better products, services, and processes.

If I were to try to sum up design thinking into this paragraph it wouldn’t do it justice. Instead, here’s a free online design thinking course created by IBM. It’s something we ran our entire team through and doing so was in itself an act of design thinking.

Concept Development (n.)

Concept development is the creation of a foundational idea for a creative deliverable, it could be for designs, videos, packaging, etc. In this phase concepts are developed to choose a direction at the start of an initiative.

While this can be an entire phase, for smaller projects we simplify concept development into a few collaborative sessions. It consists of researching creative references, mood boarding styles and executions, and coming together to create an outline for a concept.

Pro Tip: When researching creative references, delegate different aspects to different team members. For example, if this is a video concept, one person can research lighting styles and music pacing while another person can research storytelling structure. In addition to simplifying the task, this opens you up to more diverse perspectives and ideas.

Divergent Thinking (n.)

A process of creative thinking that’s used to generate ideas by exploring many possible solutions. The goal is to come up with many different ideas in a short amount of time, which results in a deeper insight to the problem.

In this method, you start with a possibility mindset. Ignore the urge to find the correct answer and instead think of unrestricted solutions and pair seemingly misfitting ideas together. For client work one exercise we like to do is called Reversing Assumptions. You start by listing all the assumptions people have about an industry. For example, most people believe hostels are for adventurous people or that guided tours aren’t the real way to experience a city. You might flip these assumptions by saying hostels are family friendly experiences; that guided tours are the best way to experience authentic culture. Then you think about what would have to change to make these reversed assumptions true.

And there we have it. Seven new words of the day to get you through the week. May we all continue to have fun as we learn and grow.

Until next time,

— A