5.1 Writing a rationale


Considering the  ‘live’ student briefs offered by BBC2 via the Young Creatives
Network Student Competition (2008) below.

  • Identify what the client wants and how they would judge what a successful outcome would be
  • Do the briefs provide all the information you need? If not, what questions would you ask the client?
  • Where would you place these briefs on the open – closed spectrum?

Think about how you might go about answering one or more of these briefs. Write a short rationale outlining your intended approach. You don’t need to produce any actual work. 

Sample brief 1

Client: BBC2
Brief: Create an opening credit sequence for The Culture Show that will surprise, inspire and challenge viewers.
Introduction: Launched in November 2004, The Culture Show is BBC2’s leading arts programme. It’s forward-looking focus, stylish presentation and confident, witty tone has attracted a younger audience. We are looking to build the show’s reputation as cutting-edge arts programming, signalling, from the opening second, that The Culture Show is an innovative show that respects its viewers’ intelligence and rewards them with well-crafted, expert, thought-provoking content.
Creative requirements: You should create one or more innovative 20 second credit sequences to open the show, to surprise, inspire and challenge viewers when they tune into The Culture Show. You should reference in some way the show’s coverage of disciplines such as fashion, art, architecture, music, film and TV. It’s down to you how you creatively go about this.
Editorial issues: Please bear in mind that BBC Producers’ guidelines will need to be adhered to in terms of subject matter – no nudity, sex, smoking or drug references.
Who are we talking to: Young, discerning metropolitan minded 25–44 year olds who have a genuine love of culture.

What is required: In this brief BBC want one or more innovative, inspiring, challenging and well-crafted 20 second opening credit sequences for the Culture Show that will attract ‘discerning’ viewers  in the 25-44 age group to watch the programme’s cutting edge content. A successful outcome would be that more viewers in that age range watch the programme.

Further questions: Once I had researched past title sequences and programmes I would need to know more about:

  • Future programme schedule or rough plans given the very broad coverage of the show. So that future content and any style changes can be referenced – at least broadly – rather than looking back
  • Any software, technical and format requirements. Whether different formats might be needed eg for i-player, mobile phone, widescreen etc and whether the material submitted should aim at high resolution end and then be reformatted.
  • Milestones and deadlines and my role in the production process and relationship with other members of the team.

This is a semi-open brief. Once I had the answers above, I would need to review my skillset and set myself some constraints that I would then flesh out clearly and in some detail in the Rationale.

Sample brief 2

Client: Orange
Brief: Create your vision of future communications.
Background: When Orange launched in 1994 we set out to simplify things in a world of confusing new technology. Now, in 2007, we can talk to each other by landline, mobile and internet telephones. We have text messaging, email, IM chat and, more recently, the huge rise in popularity of social networking. So, what’s next in the world of communications?
Target audience: All existing and potential customers of Orange.
Creative requirements: Using illustration, create for us your vision of communications in three to five years time. You could create something tangible, relating to products and physical technology. Something that talks about technology. Something emotional that shows how you think people will feel about communications, and the way that they can communicate with those around them.

What is required: Orange wants me to illustrate my 3-5 year vision of future communications.

Further questions: Once I had researched Orange’s past vision and branding, I would need to know:

  • What types of future communications are we talking about? From the moon? Or mobile phones?
  • What would be the different forms in which the ‘vision’ would be used? Is this a logo, a potential advert sequence, a poster etc? Are differently purposed versions required? Any software, technical and format requirements. 
  • Who are the existing and potential customers? Are we talking just in the UK, globally, remote rural Africa? Or linking these? Where does Orange see its main target expansion in future?  
  • Milestones and deadlines and my role in the production process and relationship with other members of the team.

This is a very open brief.

Sample brief 3

Client: Sainsbury’s
Brief: Create a piece of design or illustration for a limited edition range of Sainsbury’s shopping bags.
Requirement: This brief is to create artwork to appear on a new range of bags, based on one of three key themes that are central to Sainsbury’s business:

  • Be the best for food and health
  • Show respect for our environment
  • Source with integrity

Mandatories: The bag dimensions are 390mm high and 450mm wide. So your artwork should fit within such a canvas. There are no colour limitations at all. Sainsbury’s branding will be applied to the side gussets, so your design will dominate both main faces of the bag.

What is required: In this brief Sainsbury’s want a design or illustration to fit on bags 390mm high x 450mm wide that will communicate its ethical themes to attract existing and potential customers. 

Further questions: Once I had researched past bag designs I would need to know more about:

  • Any specific software, technical and format requirements for submission? Do they want vector or raster images?  
  • Milestones and deadlines and my role in the production process and relationship with other members of the team.

This is a more closed and specific brief. 

NOTE: I would need to do the background research to develop the rationale, and have not had time to do this. My probable choice would be the communications one, building on my work on digital communications in  Project 4.3 Pixelated Images . I would probably work on this type of pixellation style, maybe using some of the mosaic styles in SketchBook Pro and focusing on global interconnectivity from remote rural areas in Africa, Central Asia etc to urban hubs and all the different types of relationship – mothers contacting daughters, young girls contacting potential business partners etc. And use developed images for that project, and other potential styles as reference in my submission. But focusing on mobile phone/mobile devices rather than desktop.