Saturday, January 21, 2006

How to Get Ideas
Jack Foster and Larry Corby
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996

There is never been a time in all history, when ideas were so needed or so valuable. That’s because of several significant reasons. First, idea is the wheel of progress. Without them, stagnation reigns. Secondly, our computerized world are doing so much of the mundane work that we used to do, thereby, freeing us up and requiring us to do creative work which those systems cannot do. Third, in this information era, we can easily have the tools to get many things better. It comes only we combine the information to form new things, that we called idea.

This book is written by Jack Foster, a man who has been working as an advertiser for 40 years. He also has won dozens of advertising awards, including being named as Creative Person of The Year and a very respectable lecturer on advertising in The University of Southern California. So, when it comes to bring a discourse about ideas, he’s simply the most reliable source.

Foster starts it with a really simple question. When an editor writes on 20 different subjects or an advertiser write 20 different commercials, how do they get the ideas. Many experts on communications, even philosophers through the centuries have described several methods to generating ideas. They are pretty much similar with one another. Foster summarizes it in five steps; define the problem, gathered the information, search for the idea, forget about it (or in other ways waiting for an inspiration) and put the idea into action.

But, even though, they all generally agree on the steps that we must take to get an idea, none of them actually talks much about the condition we must be in to climb those steps. And if we are not in condition, it doesn’t make any difference if you know the steps, you will never get the ideas that you are capable of getting. So, what condition that we need to produce a new idea?

Foster emphasizes his book on this subject. Aside of defining what is idea and the steps to produce ideas, he also describes how we create such a situation that can help us generating ideas. He tells us how to condition our minds, so we are become ready to generate ideas. There are 8 ways; have fun, become idea prone, set our minds on goals, be more like a child, screw up our courage, rethink our thinking, and learn how to combine. And if we are pretty much in these situations, we only need to take the steps.

In the last part, Foster reminds us of one last small thing that we shouldn’t forget. It may not seem part of the process of getting an idea. But it truly is. An idea is never an idea until something happens with it. When we have done this small thing, we can look back an amazing how something new has been created.
Cutting Edge Advertising II
Jim Aitchison
Prentice Hall, 2003

We live in what so-called Information Age. That’s because we have reached an understanding that information has values. Aside from helping us understand things better, information is tools to solve problems, help people, save and fix and create thing, make things better, cheaper and more useful, and the most important one; sell something! This age demands a constant stream of information. One of the most recognizable kinds of information that we accept day by day in this age is advertising. Therefore, we can also call this age as The Age of Advertising. They are simply everywhere.

Advertising is one of the success key of marketing. But, since there are so many advertising nowadays, things are getting harder and harder. We are demanded to come up with something with the stopping point, insight and persuasion in one interesting advertising package. We have to add something to the ordinary, so we can present something that extraordinary. So, public will actually stop and buy the things, or at least create a brand awareness and brand experience in their minds.

This book gives us first step-by-step guide to creating cutting edge print ads. A hip but not trendy guide to the many angles involved in the creation of print ads. It covered everything from how advertising works, how brand-building methodologies are changing, how to get an idea, and how copy and art should be crafted. Dozens of new cutting edge print advertisements have been included from the US, UK, Australia and Asia. But that’s not all. For the first time, readers will get to see the latest work from the Philippines, South Africa, China and Eastern Europe. The ads are bigger, clearer and bolder.

Virtually every ad is shown on a page of its own, making the text easier to read. In addition, new creative voices have been added to the main text, following the success of the first edition. It demystifies the advertising creative process, with page after page of practical, inspiring and often controversial advice from such masters. Over 200 print ads and case histories reveal the creative processes at work in many world famous agencies in the US, UK, Asia and Australia.

Jim Aitchison has won over 600 advertising awards. He was creative director of The Ball Partnership, Singapore, and executive creative director of Batey Ads, Singapore. He has judged The One Show, America's leading awards show, and the London International Advertising Awards.