Sunday, June 5, 2016

Making a Pinback Button: Brainstorming the Concept

Making a pinback button is a lot of fun! This is the first article in a series on my button making process from start to finish.

Jump to:  concept / sketching / computer rendering / printing / cutting / button punching / troubleshooting

Here we go! Not off to Neverland, but close.

The concept portion of the pinback button making process is the most abstract and squishiest part of it. Everything is floating around inside and outside your brain. You need to have this information cross over from intangible to tangible.

Stop Using Your Brain For Storage

You don’t want to use your brain as a storage device. Use something like an app or a notebook to write things down. You want to use your brain capacity for creating and producing, not storing.

I use Wunderlist to record everything. Blog ideas, button ideas, grocery list, books I want to read, wishlist, movies I want to watch, everything!

Keeping a list like this makes the sketching task easier.

How To Originate Ideas

I don't sit down and brainstorm ideas. I let them come to me as the day goes.

When you sit down to sketch, this is not the time to start thinking of ideas. Instead, you will want to refer back to the list of things you already have. As you go throughout to your day, constantly write down ideas that you come up with. 

I always have a notebook nearby. I have a little one on my desk at my day job. I have a little one on our hope chest where I set out my clothes for the next day. I write on it when I’m getting ready for bed and something comes to me. It's also accessible when I’m working out and listening to a podcast and I have to stop and write it down.

Planning Next Step: Sketching

You need to plan when you're going to sketch. You need to write it down and plan it in your day or it won’t happen.

The concept stage is very simple. Don’t use your brain as a storage device. Write it. Record it. Get it out.

How to Choose a Concept to Work On

I often find that one idea is eating at me more than the others on the list. You can randomly pick one on the list. Don't spend too much time on this. 

Schedule ideas out like an editorial calendar if you need to. I use this technique if I'm low on ideas and just need to get my creative juices flowing. Sometimes your brain needs a homework assignment to kick it into gear.

How do you work with your pinback button design concepts? Email me at and share it with me. I'd love to hear from you!