Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Want a distinctive tone of voice? Introduce some constraints

Think constraints hinder creativity? Think again. The tighter the brief, the more creative the outcome. Especially when it comes to tone of voice.
There is a persistent assumption that in order to be creative, you need as much freedom as possible. In reality, the opposite is often true. The more constraining the brief, the easier it is for creativity to flourish.

The compass and the wilderness
A tight brief removes those nagging doubts about whether you’re on the right track or not. If you’ll forgive me an indulgent analogy: a tight brief is a compass in the Siberian wilderness. It won’t take you to your destination, nor will it prescribe the exact route you should follow. (Those decisions are down to you.) However, it will inform your choices at every turn. Each decision can be justified by the direction the compass points.

The analogy continues
A vague brief is the gesticulation of a passer-by in that same Siberian wilderness. You can still choose which direction to head. And you still might have some idea where you’re going. However, the further you press on, the more likely you are to get lost. At each turn, there’s nothing to support your decision to go left rather than right.

The analogy concludes
With your compass (or tight brief) in hand, once you’re sure you’re heading in the right direction, you can stop worrying and start to enjoy the journey. New possibilities open up, and you’re free to explore them without fretting about veering wildly off course. You can go back and forth until you’re sure that the route you’ve taken is better than all the others.