From the absolutely essential A Smile in the Mind, Ray Gregory on his approach to design:
I teach what I believe in, which is ideas. This attitude is not fashionable, but I’ve always felt it was the only way to approach graphic design.
[…] it was a year or so before I cracked it myself. Since then I’ve always believed that, if I could learn how to get ideas, anyone can.
I’ve found that every student can learn this way of thinking. Even in my first year at Norwich, when there were twenty-five students in the group, all of them had ideas in their folder. When I talk about ‘ideas’ I mean design by thinking, by relevance, by content rather than style. It works because it engages people. I’ve always thought of it as 'the click’ - the click that happens when I get an idea, and the click people get when they see the idea and there’s a 'yes’ and a smile. This is wit in the right sense, not just amusing, but clever.
You break the problem down to its most fundamental parts. Often there are two factors. Then you marry them up. An identity for a Museum of the Occult needs to say both 'museum’ and 'occult’. Often you find something that will say museum and make it occult. Failing that, you see something that’s occult and then bring museum into it. In this case, you could start with the museum attendant sitting in his chair. What makes it occult? He levitates.
When you teach ideas, you have to fight all the design trends.
I think the process is addictive. Once you have your first click, you want another one. It’s like a fix.