We’re taught that art and artistic taste are so personal, so indefinable and ultimately—so special—that they are impossible to express in words.

Granted, there is a lot that’s mystical about artistic sensibilities, but also plenty that is firmly and squarely down to earth.

Working with Creatives: Choose a Color

Working with creatives can feel like a huge gamble. You’re paying someone to give you something you haven’t seen yet. Can you imagine doing that with shoes? or a car? (no test drive!)

One place to start is to acknowledge that you have tastes—things you prefer—for foods, artwork, clothes. Your tastes are part of the magic spice that lifts a brand from routine and generic to unique, lively and personal. The more you exercise your tastes—the more conscious you become about why you prefer certain things, the more you are able to put your preferences into words—the more easily you can satisfy them.

Here are three statements I ran into recently, and some ideas for transforming them into clear statements of preference:

“Just make it cool.”

Back that statement up with some (not more than four or five) examples of cool ideas you like.

“I’ll know it when I see it.”

Consider discussing how you want to feel about the finished project, and/or how you’d like others to feel when they experience it. Are you looking for classy? hip? energized? or…?

“I’m not feelin’ it.”

Instead, say something like, “I don’t like it and I’m not sure why. Now that I’ve seen this idea, let me do a little more research on ideas I do like, and get back to you.”


One last thing: as you shed more light on your preferences, be willing to look at an idea that isn’t what you’d do. Breathe into the first jolt of its unexpectedness, and allow it to be there for a bit before you dismiss it. Even if you are someone who has a very specific idea of what you want, consider how this unexpected idea may, in fact, be an even better way to fulfill your goals.

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