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Concept Development, Choice of Imagery and Idea Generation


In recent times people think that advertising should be exclusively taken as brand reinforcement rather than being creative and indirect. This insight may not work well in most of the cases. Advertising is far more creative and thought provoking involving lot of ideas and concept than it is yhought so. So much thoguth process, brain washing sessions and conceptual develpoment is involved that a layman might take it just as playing with the imagery, but in real sense it is not as easy.

As for the information, idea generation is always done after finalising the concept. The concept is a very vast thought, mostly generalized and a vague insight. According to the concept the idea genaration takes place. E.g. if you are advertising about a digital colored printing press, the concepts can vary from colorful life or adding color to your life or make the living more coloreful, the idea genartaion would include producing different images supporting the concept. The imagery might include colors of spring or coloring the skies or mixing of colors in the environemnt. More directly just showing the colors in a palette would not be any creative.

Canon Ad

This image shows that an already existing parrot full of colors is still taking its colors from DiGiC (ofcourse digitally). Similarly in the same layout, the imagery can be changed e.g. instead of parrot any other living thing, any animal or flower.

In order to produce more creative ideas, it’s important to research and have brain storming sessions. Research should not be done haphazardly, rather deciding on the concept you must go through other campaigns already developed on the same concept. See how they have used images/photographs, what is the composition? What is your tag line. Supporting the concept is the rag line, it can be vice versa also. Either you decide the tag line first and then place a concept over it, or decide the concept and then place a tag line supporting it. More of the work can be done just by choosing the words. As a designer, it’s then upto you what images or ideas you are choosing. Just by lifting the images from somewhere is not what we are talking about. More than the issue of copyrights, it’s the sense of your own creativity which should come in. You can take reference from certain imagery but definitely just for an idea. And why do you want to take reference. Let your brain decide for itself what kind of idea generation you want. Research work may include making a concept model.

Now What is a Concept Model?

Concept model is a real, actual placement of your concept i.e. any 3D model or any 2D diagram on the paper or use of any real material. Concept is just a vague unclear perception in mind. It has to be subjected in real sense, visible, audible or tangible. In order to give your concept this shape, you must create a concept model. E.g. transformation is one concept, very generalized, very vague. How do you take your concept in visible form might be a 3D model including a cloth whose color changes from yellow to orange to red. Is this your idea of transformation: change of colors on a flowing cloth, or maybe you can be more scientific. An egg into a pupa and larva and then a butterfly. But what is the nature of your brand for which you are deciding this? A company providing business opportunities to you says “We transform your life?” now for this matter you need to have a completely different imagery. A kid, shabby looking, worn out clothes, becomes a youngster who sees the bright star of the company and in the third phase a satisfied contented lavishly seated old person. Now this is one idea supporting the concept of transformation in relation to the brand identity.

Spadow Art

Another way of showing transformation in relation to the brand reinforced is showing this boy turning into a fiery dragon, from an ordinary boy to a powerful, hot, energetic dragon. But why is it shown this way? A series of drawings by many artists on the topic of “Grow your dragon” show various concepts. This one shows the inner strength of the boy which is growing in the form of dragon, thus transforming. Here comes the view of “Archetypes”. How you give an indirect meaning to your imagery.


Another very simple form of concept of transformation. A furniture designing company shows how we can transform your ordinary wooden table into a royal gold extravagant beauty.

Let’s now discuss some of the points which should be kept in mind while researching for the sake of idea generation. Your research should include determining the brand positioning, competition in the market, target audience, which technique of making graphics would be more suitable: vector based, image based or photography and what designed items will be most appropriate for a certain campaign.

Brand Positioning

In advertising, positioning is the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization.

That very identity will help you decide the concept of your campaign

Mcdonalds Ad

A very simple Mcdonalds ad reinforcing the essence of coffee. Wake up with our coffee, energize yourself, you have sunken down, you need to charge yourself. Wind the key and charge yourself. This is direct imagery used to show positioning of Mcdonalds coffee.

Competition in the Market

Many times it’s important to know what other competitive brands are doing in the market. You need to develop the campaign more creative and brighter than them. E.g there is a pitched battle between producers of Maggi seasoning and Knorr seasoning. Maggi wroks on more promotional activities, on the other hand Knorr tries to outwit Maggi on the basis of creative advertising.

Maggie Ad

Maggi endorses its brand by keeping a competition named as “Cook for Mama”. Everyone participates to win the reward. This promotional activity leads to delivering to the minds that Maggi is special. On the other hand

Knorr Ad

Knorr plays with the direct essence. Good food for you, Garlic savories, beautify yourself with garlic sauces. Research shows that Maggi is still more popular, maybe because of their marketing strategies or maybe continued reinforcement of brand is the best way to reach to people.

Target Audience

In marketing and advertising, a target audience, is a specific group of people within the target market at which the marketing message is aimed at (Kothler 2001). E.g. if the company is aiming to sell new textured wallpapers and wall coatings, target market would definitely be A class of people who can afford the price and should have good taste of interiors. Also architects and builders who can refer the new material after going through all the practical aspects of durability and long lasting finishing. Obviously not kids or teenagers who can never be indulged in house building.

Red Bull Youngster Ad

Red Bull mainly targets its audience who are youngsters, mostly teenagers. This is the reason in this ad it shows a young boy.

Summer Company Ad

This ad captures the energy and exuberance of children for the Spring/Summer 2010 Company Kids campaign. Thus target audience being kids.

Technique of Making Graphics

Right kind of graphics support the right concept. For a certain campaign, whether photographs should be used or vector based graphics or an image. This question can be answered simply by seeing other campaigns of the sort. You need to be different, so use the graphics best collaborated with your brand identity and different from competitors. E.g. for Sony Playstation 3, the campaign must have genuine quality of illustrations or dynamic images showing power and brilliant 4 D aspects.

Making Graphics

These images very well indicate the laser power which is dynamic and 3D or 4D.

Similarly any designer garments campaign would definitely use photography in order to show the cuts and flow of the fabrics.

Making Graphics

Makgin Ad Graphics

This is the illustration based ad, for a personal stylist whose identity is very well depicted in it. The choice of imagery can vary depending on your personal likings also. The campaign should be creative, appealing and must show the true essence of brand.

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