For any project or task there is always a deadline, otherwise, the process will go on forever. When I start the task, I always know when the finish should be, but I do not know how it looks like.

So, where is the beginning? You have a work plan, but which direction to choose? Where to get the mood and inspiration? This article is about the creative pipeline, the development of the concept and idea.

My name is Nastia Zubova. I’m an animator, motion designer, and usually, I am an illustrator. I work with projects of different sizes, to order and also for myself.

What is the project? Any project is a solution to the problem. Often, I control all stages of it by myself. Therefore, in the beginning, I try to set the right direction to get the expected result.

Stage One. This is an introduction to the information on the project. To immerse yourself in a subject, you need to explore it: to delve into the user experience, get research data about this experience or remember your own. Also, explore the target market (age, gender, location, lifestyle, etc), the company location, product or service on the market. That data I receive from the customer or from the Internet.

Any solution of the projects begins with an idea.

Stage Two. I am a supporter of accurate calculation since it works at 100% in the development of ideas. There are different ways. The easiest and the universal way, in my opinion, is the creating “associative series”. I make a list of associations to the main theme and develop it. I do this with the “Mind Mapping” method. This is really the effective tool for visualizing thinking.

Take a sheet of paper and pencil, or, for example, the online editor, I know that one. Usually, I use Adobe Photoshop. I create a new file and put all my thoughts in a chaotic order. Then I can reorganize these and I get something like this:

I edited it to make it more readable.

The next stage is to search for examples, references by different criteria (metaphors, scenes, characters, patterns, details, animation, etc.). It is necessary to analyze the analog environment for studying the solutions of such problems. And starting from this create your own idea, because sometimes it’s hard to get it by yourself from scratch. I like Dribbble, Vimeo, Behance, Instagram.

Stage Four of this period. A truly creative stage, with one limitation on deadline.

I consider the client’s requirements. Often there is a brand book or some guideline. Using it, I have the appearing palette, or I add colors to the existing one. I turn to the sketches. Sketch brings the idea to realization. While I draw a sketch, I find different variants not only of form, but of motion too.

It’s your choice to work with it or not, but I think it’s a must have if you are in the team, regardless, there is a client, or it’s your own project.

The main rule in sketching: here wins the quantity, not the quality. And after all, you can find the profitable moments and combine those. According to the story, I can add color to the first sketches. But mostly I put it on the final sketches.

So, there is a concept. Now I give an estimate to the idea (or do it with the client) and move on to the realization step.

I believe that inspiration is born in the process of work.