In the creative realm, there is a clear difference between superficial, decorative work and conceptual work. But when you try to examine the differences between the two, it can be tough to find a guide on the subject. Here’s one perspective:
A charcoal drawing or oil painting of household objects – oranges, a flower vase, some gloves, a bird’s feather from the yard – is a still life. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s decoration. It isn’t saying to the viewer anything other than “look at these subtle variances of light and shadow.” It isn’t doing anything besides conveying a representation of an inanimate thing.
But take that same style of artwork – charcoal drawing, oil painting, whatever – and select a different set of objects. Instead of fruit and a burlap sack, try depicting the warm glow of a Jedi’s lightsaber on top of some spare droid parts and a folded robe. Instead of ordinary flowers spilling out of a porcelain vase, try representing the flowers as two-dimensional, digital pixels. If you maintain enough similarities with the original mode of execution (in this case, the aesthetic of a traditional still life), you’ll change just enough of the outcome to create a visual statement.
One relatively easy way to conceptualize in a creative way is by combining mundane elements that wouldn’t ordinarily go together. For instance, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about a formal suit you’d wear to a wedding, or camouflage attire you’d put on before going out into the woods to hunt in – but combine the two things, and you have a camouflage dress suit. A ‘fashion statement,’ which is just another phrase for creative – or conceptual – clothing.
In the creative realm, there is a clear difference between superficial, decorative work and conceptual work.
In marketing, concept is hugely important. It’s one of the main reasons why memes are so effective as a social awareness tool for marketing campaigns. Juxtaposing topical elements in a contradictory way that’s instantly recognizable without explanation is almost unparalleled in terms of effectiveness and the potential for something to go viral. If the concept is strong enough, the aesthetics or technical impressiveness of a given image, or video, or bit of writing, are rendered all but irrelevant. Memes don’t need to look good in order to work.
At Push Digital, our designers value the importance of concept across all areas of advocacy, brands, political, and strategic communications. Among many other things, we are visual problem solvers. We ensure that no campaign – no matter how large or small – begins without a goal in mind and a clear way to get there.
Let’s brainstorm together.
Credit: John Philips, Art Director at Push Digital