Maybe you’ve come across people who seemed to “have it,” though they weren’t more imaginative, more talented, or had some ethereal quality others lacked, but definitely had something that made their work more… finished. That mysterious quality was likely the practice of refinement. Where some will work until they’re tired of looking at something, or have procrastinated until time ran out and the client needs SOMETHING. NOW., the artist who refines will create work that elicits unprovoked compliments from passers by. Spending a few extra moments means the difference between a collection of shouted copy points and beautifully effective communication. Success is borne from exploring one more angle; doing one more version knowing it’s wrong but necessary to contrast the right one. We should refine until only a clear message can be wrung from our work. Refinement isn’t an inherent gift, so here are some simple thoughts to consider in order to get there:
• Don’t stop prematurely, but definitely take breaks. 5 minutes away and sometimes you see a new solution the instant you return to your screen.
• Ask someone for a look, but prepare to forget what they tell you if needed (have a gracious reason you didn’t do what they suggested!)
• Refine until you can’t. Just don’t stop until the work is really done. That is the secret to creating a body of work that shows you have a seemingly indefinable quality.
A well-executed weak idea is easier to sell than a half-assedly constructed mind-blowing concept.
-Aaron White, Senior Production Artist