Reading about writing is sort of like eating about cooking.
They’re connected activities, but there’s a little more to it than tossing
ingredients together and pulling out a lasagna. There are steps to creating
First and foremost [and we can’t stress this enough] great
content begins with great input. A talented copywriter may be able to build and
expand on even small details, but give that same writer plenty of resources and
background and they can work wonders. At helium, we’ve gotten pretty
skilled at asking the right questions to gather the kind of insight that
inspires writers, and we also make it a point to keep clients engaged in
ongoing communication since sometimes ideas take time to mature.
Effective copywriting also has to consider style or tone.
That’s because the way something is said is often just as – if not more
– important than what is said. Very straight-laced, precise, almost
academic language appeals to a different audience than content that has a
humorous slant. Likewise, if there is an emotion an audience should feel when
reading content, the choice of words and the length and flow of content matter
One of the most challenging aspects of creating excellent
content is authenticity. There’s a big difference between a product that is
truly innovative and one that simply comes in a new color. It is why diamonds
are described as “exquisite” and rhinestones are simply “sparkly.” It can be
easy to get attached to a specific word, but that doesn’t mean it is the right
fit for every brand. When we create content for our clients we want them to be
the best versions of themselves, while still remaining true to what their
product, service, or offering actually is. In the long run, this closes more
sales by attracting the right kinds of customers and prospects in the first
Mood boards are a critical step in our process. They allow us to capture the visual essence of a brand or project in a realm that is somewhere halfway between real and imagined. It allows us to help clients tap into their own creative vision and communicate their intentions and feelings much more clearly than words will sometimes allow.
The mood board process helps us creatively as much as it help the client understand a direction. In our creative process, going through tons of visual inspiration will help shape the intangible concept in our head. Image after image starts to refine and idea and construct a direction that ultimately guides where we go with the brand — from storytelling, statements, and print collateral like brochures, packaging and stationery, to online material such as websites. The mood board helps get all the ideas in front of us.
With everyone picturing the same visual universe, we find projects move forward more efficiently. Instead of spending round after round of revisions to nail down design direction, we can spend more time executing the special details that make a project one of a kind. It might mean having extra time to add 3D renderings [check out helium reality for more on this]. Other times, a streamlined creative development process may allow sales efforts to launch sooner, a quicker transition between temporary and permanent websites, or the addition of special finishes on printed pieces and animations on digital elements.
So, what goes into a mood board? That’s both the fun part and, perhaps, the most challenging. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it easily takes a thousand [or more] pictures to convey an idea as complex as an experience, an idea, a destination, or a home. We comb through a gross amount of images in magazines, websites, books, and everyone’s favorite: Pinterest. We’ve got our own bank of photographs and items we’ve collected of the years.
We scan what the competition is doing and look for uncharted territory. We sketch on notepads. We take our own photos of things that inspire us. We start arranging things together in a composition. We see what other team members think. We switch things in and out. And then… we walk away for a while and see what still strikes us as powerful and unique. After we’ve done all that about a dozen times [usually more], our clients get a chance to dive into the mood board themselves. It’s at that point that our role shifts from creators to listeners and observers. What was the initial reaction? Positive? Awe-inspired? Energized? Which elements are getting the biggest and best responses? Is it color? Camera angle? Something else? The mood board brings all of this to the forefront and becomes the anchor point for everything that comes next.