Sunday, November 23, 2008

A hat for any occasion

The six-hat method is well known technique and is used by many, it allows you to really step back reflect and examine your work. Most people would probably use one or more of these hats unconsciously in their design process already. A more pessimistic person will often sport the black hats, where as the more wild or crazy designer might more readily adopt a yellow or green hat approach. By consciously going through the hats as you design, it can bring out flaws, or highlight strong points in the design that might previously have been missed. Thus making it a useful tool for any designer.

I used the six hat method when approaching the intimidating task of the CD design cover. Faced with the prospect of becoming trapped in indecision and running out of time I turned to the hats to help me. I started with the white hat, and looked at my information. I didn’t have much, just some CD cover inspiration and a loose grasp on the style of covers my genre most commonly used. I started there, researching further into RnB and Polynesian styled covers, hoping to find a link between. I was met with all the obvious clich├ęs, on one side, bikini girls and bling, the other, palm trees and sand – sand for miles.

I sketched a few ideas and then progressed to the black hat when reflecting upon them. The designs were becoming dull and uninspiring. I got stuck there for awhile. Taking on the Blue hat I decided that it would take some green hat thinking to get my design process moving forward again. Eventually I came up with an idea to use samoan textures and patterns. More sketches and some strong coffee later, I casually tossed on the yellow hat to positively assess my idea – there was no way I was going near the black hat again. I stayed with this idea, and moved on to the last of the hats after I had finished a preliminary digital design, and emotive response. I showed it to other people, and looked hard at myself. The general feeling being that it definitely had the island feel that I was looking for.

And that is my story.

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