“Big ideas. Big solutions.” We say that a lot around here — it’s our tagline, after all. It sums up what we love about our work: the chance to plan big and come up with crazy, creative visual elements to solve your problems.

But even though the tagline puts those two parts together, it’s not simple to get from one to the other. There’s a lot that happens in between the big ideas and the big solutions.

What exactly happens, you ask? Well, it’s impossible to give a short and simple answer, because all our projects are customized to the client’s needs. There’s no perfectly-standard process.

But we could talk about a specific project, and that’ll give you a good idea of how things often go. Our work for Fullerton Tool Company, for example, was a big project that involved a lot of steps. Today, let’s talk about step #1: Discovery.

Let the Ideas Begin to Bounce

Discovery is what we like to call the stage when we first get to know a client. We start figuring out what your needs are, what you’re looking for, and so on. It’s a stage where lots of big ideas start flying around like popcorn.

In Fullerton Tool’s case, we had a lot of room to work — literally. Fullerton was building a brand-new facility in Saginaw, and rather than adding upgrades or personalizations as the years went on, they wanted to make it remarkable right from the start. That meant customizing their offices, lobbies, conference rooms, and hallways to reflect Fullerton’s brand. With an office like that, everything about the space would remind visitors of Fullerton’s history, expertise, capabilities, and professionalism. (Not to mention it would look pretty cool.)

Even though Fullerton’s goal was pretty clear, that isn’t the case for all our clients. We always want to hear what you have in mind, but we know you don’t necessarily have a full-fledged idea. You might know what visual style you want, or what effect you want your display or space to have on visitors, but not anything more specific.

Fullerton Sign

And you know what? That’s okay. We have lots of creative people on staff, and they’re good at nailing down what our clients are looking for. That’s the whole point of this step: to talk with you, define what your needs are, and see what ideas/thoughts/feelings you already have. We’ll bounce ideas around and see what you think.

Think of it as a couple of kids building sandcastles. If something doesn’t strike your fancy, at this stage it’s really easy to knock it over and move on to another castle (er, idea). We’re not tied down to any one plan.

Heading Towards a Blueprint

With or without fully-formed ideas beforehand, it usually doesn’t take us more than one meeting to figure out where to go next. When we wrapped up our conversation with Fullerton, we knew they wanted a wide variety of elements for their office environment. Now it was our job to sift through the big ideas we’d bounced around and develop their favorite ones a little more.

But that’s part of the next step in our process. You’ll have to wait until next time to hear about step #2: Proposal, Budget, and Quote.