We all know that visuals are an attractive aspect of digital marketing collateral. But within the world of creative development, what are the skills required and trends observed to succeed? Where is the world of creative development heading?
Recent research indicates that app development and 3D modeling are must-have skills. This is partially true. However, creative development is such a diverse area that each sub-domain under creative development requires different, in-depth specialized skills.
Rajesh Muthyalu, Creative Director at Position2 sheds more light on the current scenario in creative development. Here’s what he had to say:
Team Position2: Creative professionals thrive in a rapidly changing world…how do you keep up to date with all that’s happening?
RM: It is our job to know what is happening and so we consciously spend time to stay updated about the latest developments. We subscribe to select newsletters and follow trends on leading websites. We ensure that everyone in the company has access to this information.
We strongly believe in knowledge sharing and update everyone in the team with new trends. Importantly, we look at new trends through the filter of usability. We are also active on relevant LinkedIn groups through which we gather updates about important webinars on design trends. The team attends these webinars to stay updated.
Team Position2: What is your take on mobile specific designs and usage of responsive technology?
RM: At Position2, we use responsive design technique. It is better than mobile specific designing because there are a variety of screen sizes in the market. We incorporate new aspects like long scrolling, which have come into being due to smaller screens that necessitate more scrolling. Also, for mobile based Landing Pages (LPs), we follow best practices like shorter forms, less images and so on to facilitate better user experience and faster loading speeds.
Team Position2: How do you believe the B2B industry is keeping up with the change in creative development?
RM: B2B industry does embrace new trends in creative development like scrolling and single page website. But the adoption is slower and not to the extent of B2C because of the difference in the nature of the target audience. B2B targets industry professionals who are short of time and expect information to be readily available in one place. B2B designs need to follow specific wireframes where all the important information has to be seen on the home page in the form of top menu bars and such. We can and do implement new trends in the B2B industry also but the focus is on doing what’s best for a client.
Team Position2: When we think of creative teams, we imagine a bunch of creative professionals brainstorming and writing on a piece of paper or a whiteboard. How does the Creative team at Position2 work?
RM: We first get an initial brief about the client, which includes details about their target audience. Next step is to have a Q&A session with the client. We then have a strategy meeting where team member comes up with creative ideas separately. We always encourage input from everyone, because anyone can come up with a great idea. We then discuss each person’s ideas, vote and pick the most appealing ones.
Before beginning the creation process, we create a single reference document with approved final ideas. The ideation process involves developing multiple wireframes, copy and obtaining client approval for the design and copy. Once we get the approval, we plunge into the creation process, post which we employ a stringent QC process that includes multiple rounds of internal and client QC. The final design includes inputs from all the relevant people without compromising on creativity or usability.
However, our creative process can be customized based on asset and client requirement.
Team Position2: Have you adopted the use of smart devices to help you do great creative work?
RM: Depending on the requirements, we use latest devices during the creative development process. Testing for all scenarios is done using different updated devices and technology.
Team Position2: How do you take decisions? Do you trust your intuition or would you prefer to rely on research? Do you like to break away from rules and create new trends or do you stick to existing trends?
RM: We check designs with industry trends and see how they compare. We always give first priority to usability, because, as designers we can adapt quicker to new trends than users. It is important that we don’t leave users behind because we have evolved faster than them.
Team Position2: How has the creative field evolved over a period of time?
RM: Not much change has happened in the last 2 years, and in the B2B industry, change is relatively slower than in B2C. In B2C, technology and trends change much faster. Lately, more changes have happened in B2C than in B2B.
Team Position2: What new skills are in demand in the creative field?
RM: For videos, skill in using Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premier Pro, Adobe Flash and Cinema 4D is necessary. We use technologies based on the time available to deliver. Sometimes, we use all the above technologies to create a video.
For infographics, static banners, ads and LP designs, we use: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Animated banners and ads require expertise with Adobe Flash.
And every designer needs to understand basic HTML to design web pages. He/she also has to have knowledge of HTML 5 and basic design guidelines.
Team Position2: “Traditional media restricts you because of guidelines (TV – time, print – space)…but social is where creativity thrives because you have more freedom. According to recent research, social media/ mobile friendly designs inspire to create. Is this true or do they restrict creativity? What are the main sources of inspiration for you?
RM: Social media gives immense freedom and flexibility to create wonderful campaigns and helps you get to a whole new level.
But there are certain social media platform design specifications that have to be followed. We subscribe to these updates from all the major social media sites and stay updated. Also from the viewpoint of development, in digital media, you can change content anytime, even if it is live.
Testing results on digital will help optimize collateral better. However, one drawback is that you will lose out on visibility and engagement if you make changes in videos and upload new ones.
Team Position2: How important do you think 3D modeling is as a trend? How are companies/ clients going to benefit from that?
RM: Rather than a common trend, 3D modeling is used based on the industry the company is from and what their requirement is. 3D modeling more suited for certain industries than others. For example, 3D modeling is a great technique for the automobile industry.
Team Position2: How do you keep your team updated in terms of knowledge and skill sets?
RM: Always, emphasis is placed on the team having basic understanding of all creative technologies. Depending on the sub-domain the person is working in, he/she needs to go deeper into their respective field. The team attends relevant webinars and training sessions based on the skills required. But, as said earlier, usability and creativity are most important.
Team Position2: Do app development and 3D modeling enhance the appeal of creatives?
RM: We develop a lot of apps for our clients. In any medium, creative appeal is the combined function of technology, powerful visuals and copy. Based on the medium and platform used, you need to pick visuals, animation or copy to be highlighted to enhance appeal.
Team Position2: What role do mobile devices play in creation and inspiration?
RM: Mobile device aspects like Flat UI, no bevel, embossing and iOS have inspired creation and changed design trends. Since we need to consider load time and usability on mobile devices, it changes the design. Responsiveness that has come into play because of changing mobile device screen sizes has also impacted design.
Before I sign off, I would like to say that, “We have seen simple, sleek and flat designs. Now, it’s time to design using responsive framework since users are spending most of their time on mobile/tablet devices. Flat designs and long scroll approach with parallax scrolling will become even more popular. We need to focus more on UI/UX than latest trends keeping best practices in mind especially in the B2B space.”
That was really informative Rajesh. Thank you!
Marketers, what is your opinion about the field of creative development today?