Industry Insights

4 Common Roadblocks During Creative Development and How to Conquer Them

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When you're working on a tight deadline, the last thing you want to run into is a roadblock in your production process. During a creative development process, blockades can interfere at any moment, delaying production and altering your final deliverable quality. While interruptions are inevitable, there are a few common roadblocks you can expect and deflect in your creative development.

AdLiven recently completed a multi-faceted project, challenging us to explore new avenues. While taking on complete creative control, we created an asset tool kit for a client. We worked closely with the clients as an extension of their creative team. Despite the unpredictability of these unique requests, we were able to turn potential setbacks into enhancements.

Always return to the research. 

Depending on your creative approach, the time for research might come up at different stages in your process. Whether research is always your first step or if you rely on client-provided information, the one constant across every project is that you should always return to the research. Each phase in your creative process can include research. Consider investigations about the client, product, goal, competition, and current industry trends before accepting a project. For our client’s tool kit project, in particular, we took it further by brainstorming rough ideas for the direction of the concept at an earlier stage.

Initial Sketches / Rough Ideas

We returned to the research throughout the production process to evaluate our current position and ensure we were still following the result of our findings. As research phases are a vital part of the production process, we found it helpful to factor extra time into the suggested timeline to account for adequate research and review. 

Mind maps should start with sketches.

One of the most common roadblocks in any project is stimulating a creative flow. Whether the project is in the initial concepting stages or running through rounds of feedback, trying to produce new ideas can be tedious for some. For a project like our tool kit project, there’s a possibility that you’ll have to work with little to no previous assets or references. The need to be “creative” will be at an all-time high. In our case, we found it effective to sketch out our ideas. We incorporated a sketching phase into the production process, allowing us to explore different designs, art styles, and iterations. We provided various types of sketches, from line art to colored completions. Additionally, our ability to simultaneously work with multiple designers provided the necessary leverage to unlock new creative doors with fresh perspectives.

Forever plan for feedback.

Once you reach the point of the feedback, either internal or from the client, it’s essential to be proactive instead of reactive. For starters, you should always account for feedback phases, even if the state of the deliverable is in the polishing stages. By dividing the workload amongst multiple designers - or dividing the project into various sections - you can focus on the second phase while waiting for approval of the first. This tip also cuts back on rounds of feedback necessary, allowing the ability to apply initial feedback to future submissions. It’s also helpful to take the initiative of providing iterations when responding to client feedback. This is a great moment to return to your research to see if other targets are possible.

Let the project speak for itself.

Sometimes we start with one project and end up with a different one as it develops. Keeping in an agile mind that deliverables may change throughout the project can help your team’s adaptability. Our tool kit project had many moving parts, each with different deliverables. Early in the project production, the static-only request developed into a 2D animation component. By the project's final phase, a 3D design was developed and led to additional projects. 

Initial Sketch

The key is to welcome the possibility of the original concept changing. We accepted the invitation to explore additional design avenues amid a project already underway. By reviewing our earlier research, we were able to identify how the client can incorporate 3D design into their creatives in the most effective way. 

We didn’t achieve this entirely on our own. We encouraged collaboration with the client’s in-house creative team. We allowed visibility to our ideation, design iterations, and feedback implementation, creating an open atmosphere.  We welcomed change and let the client feel included in the production. This helps to build stronger relationships with partners. 

The route to creative development isn’t a single path. There is always a way to overcome challenges. Even when encountering unexpected situations, you can make the best of a pestful problem. By conquering roadblocks, you ultimately elevate your creative approach. 

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Ebony Holmon
Ebony Holmon