Design and Write. - Dreamstime

Begin with the words. While it may feel more natural to begin the process by sketching images, starting with the words will help you quickly zero in on the concept—and inspire images in line with the language.

Find the key(s). Creative briefs abound with keywords that serve as guideposts to the brainstorming process. Identify and compile a list of those words that evoke an emotion, that seem particularly important to the client or that speak to you.

Get it all out. When it's time to actually sit down and write, it's often best to just let yourself go creatively. Allow yourself to write thoughts as they come, without stopping to second-guess or edit. Don't even use full sentences. It's surprising what can come from these stream-of-consciousness ramblings.

Organize and edit. This is the hard part—sifting through what your subconscious produced in the previous step and whipping it into shape. For long copy, identify one main point or theme and make every sentence support it, ensuring that every thought logically leads your reader to the next. For short copy like headlines, select your top five and refine. Request feedback from someone you trust, and keep an open mind.

Simplify. Be merciless with your red pen. The fewer words, the better.

Photo credits: Claudia Furlán Germain, Li Wu.


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