A fresh approach for better creative collaboration
At Fresh Egg we like to share. It’s a value we breathe into everything we do, from passing the biscuits around the office to sharing the value of our experience with our clients to create better customer experience (CX). We believe collaboration is key to the best kind of creativity – a few combined minds are always better than one – and the best ideas and creative solutions often come from thrashing it out together as a team.
For us, our team stretches beyond the walls of Fresh Egg HQ and through to our client partners. We act both as an extension of their in-house teams, and welcome them into our own – with good biscuits, strong ideas and better creative solutions flowing freely from the start.
One of the main ways we focus on collaboration is our Cool Wall design workshop and for the purpose of this blog post, I’d like to welcome you behind the scenes to show you how we took inspiration from a popular TV programme for all the design gains …
What is a Cool Wall design workshop?
In an eggshell, the Fresh Egg Cool Wall design workshop is our not-so-subtle rip off of a controversial TV programme’s idea.
Do you remember the Top Gear Cool Wall, with its four categories: Seriously Uncool, Uncool, Cool and Sub-zero? Well that forms the premise of our workshop, where we get our creative teams and clients in a room together to share feedback and direction on the visual design of a project. (thankfully Clarkson not included).
What are the benefits?
Traditionally, a digital art director might create moodboards or early design concepts in isolation without the client’s input and present these ideas back in the hope they’ve correctly understood the brief, brand and competitors. This way of working can often bloat the design process through lots of back and forth between agency and client until everyone’s happy with the design direction. A lot of time (and money) not very well spent, on both sides.
Our Cool Wall workshop breaks down those barriers to create a far more efficient and fully collaborative and transparent process that involves our clients right from the start.
It’s a moodboard 2.0: the interactive version, without any of the faff.
How does it work?
There are four key elements needed to hold a Cool Wall workshop:
- A large blank wall.
- Printouts of design research to inspire the project’s creative direction (these come from websites, apps, branding, photography, typographic design, packaging etc. and are collated by the Fresh Egg team after receiving the initial client brief).
- A mix of client participants.
- Possibly some biscuits.*
Step 1: Categorise design examples from Seriously Uncool to Sub-zero
With the wall separated into the four categories: Seriously Uncool, Uncool, Cool and Sub-zero, the task for participants is to take the printed design examples and place them in which category they think suits, with reasoning as to why.
Step 2: Discussion and debate to challenge and understand decisions
At any point can someone challenge a decision by taking something off the wall and repositioning it in a new category. The only stipulation is that the challenge must be discussed as a group to ensure everyone agrees and understands the move.
Step 3: Step back and reflect
Once all the examples are on the wall the group stands back to review the decisions made. Everyone has one last chance to challenge or question the positioning of the designs on the scale.
Step 4: Identify desired visual style and direction of project
We then focus on each stage of the scale starting with the uncool end to understand what doesn’t work for the project. Although the workshop is intended to uncover what is right, it’s also really important to understand what isn’t right and why.
Moving through the Cool and Sub-zero categories we focus on the visual style and direction of the examples chosen, discussing why they work for the client’s brand and why they make up a guiding visual style for the rest of the project.
Step 5: Collate Cool and Sub-zero examples into digital moodboard to direct visual project brief
After the session we collate all Cool and Sub-zero examples into a digital mood board that can be accessed as reference for our clients and also the designers working on the project.
This gives our creative teams a very clear brief for the visual design direction of the project. It’s one that we know the client has joint ownership and investment in, and is accessible by anyone at any time to refer back to.
We don’t condone stealing but on this occasion we’re very proud that we ‘borrowed’ an idea from a once-popular TV programme for a more efficient and collaborative way of working.
Holding the Cool Wall design workshop in this way means as an agency we can nail the agreed creative direction of a project in just a few hours, saving our clients valuable time and money in the process. WIN WIN!
*Who are we kidding. There will definitely be biscuits.
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