4 Fun Design Prompts

February 15, 2011

Image via Flickr user /eye.contact!

In a creative writing prompt, there are imposed rules and restrictions, and the writer has to create a story within those confines. It could be that you must use a certain point of view, describe a certain scene, include three specific and strange words or keep to a certain word count. I thought this "prompt" tactic might work well for graphic designers, too, so I've created some fun design prompts that give you a format, client, rules and idea of what the "client" wants. Prompts can be a refreshing exercise for when your business is slow, or if you are feeling creatively blocked. For designers who are fresh out of school or just getting started in the industry, use these kinds of prompts to create sample projects to post on your website. Prompt No. 1: Logo design Client: Gimble's Jewelry Emporium Background: This is family-owned jewelry business offers traditional gold and silver pieces as well as precious stones. They have three locations in the suburbs surrounding a large metropolitan area and their customers are mostly upper-middle class women. Rules: The old logo is black and white and features a diamond and the name of the business underneath. They are looking for something fresh that would look great on their website and in e-mail marketing as well. They want to keep the theme or image of the diamond in the new logo and would love it if the new logo made their business look more like a luxury brand. Prompt No. 2: Letterhead Client: Patagonia Background: An environmentally conscious company that sells tools and clothing for climbers, skiers, runners and people enjoying sports and activities in a natural setting. The company's mission statement is "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." Rules: Patagonia wants new letterhead for its management team. Use any of the current Patagonia logos and create one 8.5- by 11-inch opening page and a more simplified second page for longer correspondence. It is important to find paper with 100 percent recycled content from a certified sustainable source. Patagonia does not want white paper with black font. The letterhead should look natural and reflect the company's rugged, adventurous spirit. It needs to include the mission statement and a blurb about the sustainable, recycled paper. Prompt No. 3: Postcard promotion Client: Color Me Mine Background: This pottery studio has locations nationwide where children and adults can custom-glaze pottery pieces and take them home. Rules: Design a postcard for the company's spring promotion. The postcard is going to existing customers, mostly families with small children. The offer is to receive a free Easter gift basket with candy, stickers and goodies when you paint a piece during the month of April. There will be pottery pieces tied into Easter such as eggs, bunnies, lambs and baby chicks. The postcard has to be a standard 4.25- by 6-inch size, and include the name of the business on both sides. Prompt No. 4: Book cover redesign Book: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" Background: First published in 1989, this bestselling self-help book has reached more than 15 million people. Through the seven habits, the author presents his method for attaining personal goals and success. Rules: The publisher wants to attract more of the 18- to 34-year-old demographic and thinks a cover redesign coupled with a targeted social media marketing campaign may work. Redesign the book's cover using sans serif font and new, hip design that will appeal to millennials and Generation Y. Keep in mind that the publisher may use the fonts and images from the new cover in the social media marketing campaign. The book is a paperback with a 7- by 10-inch trim size and a 3/4-inch spine. The publisher is open minded about the design, but wants the number "7" to be a digit and wants the tagline, "Powerful lessons in personal change," to appear on the front cover.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.