Think now, design later

I've been slowing leafing my way through The Advertising Concept Book over the last few weeks, after spying it in Krakow's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Written by ad veteran Pete Barry, its principal audience is students studying advertising, but the way it deconstructs the process creative teams in agencies use to develop a message and get it across is worthwhile reading for anyone trying to communicate better. His "think now, design later" mantra is all about building a concept and message before you get anywhere near a design or media plan; a great idea will increase the value of both but neither will improve a poor idea.

The book itself upholds this message visually, opting for sketched roughs instead of the finished, glossy artwork of the well-known ads it pulls apart. It's a really lovely thing.

My work for this year's EIE event kicked off this week, and I'm again finding myself telling the pitching companies to think of each slide in their deck as an advertising billboard; a single, memorable message communicated in the blink of an eye. I think I may be taking that idea a little more literally this year.