The Creative Process for Ad Development

The issue of Dogster magazine that featured the creative content we designed for the PEDIGREE Foundation.

Creative Content- Dogster Ad

The system that I’ve found to produce the best results is as follows:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Sketch
  3. Digitalize
  4. Refine & Publish

The process is simple, yet highly productive. You essentially begin with a mental slab of clay and an infinite number of creative possibilities. With each step you pull, twist, and shape the sculpture, slowly revealing the final form. Throughout the entirety of the project, the client is informed and their feedback implemented, creating something desirable for both sides.


To collect as much creative material as possible, a brainstorm is needed. This can include visual research, bullet points, concept mapping, group discussions, diagramming, and even doodling. Do whatever helps you cull and organize potential ideas.

Creative Content

Pick the best ideas

With all your concepts compiled into one area, begin to weed out the weaker, less-promising options. Once you have close to six concepts remaining, begin to sketch out the designs. They do not have to be extremely detailed, but keep in mind that the more information you scribble on the page, the more you have to work with. Sometimes, your concept can transform into something completely different than the intended sketch. As you can see, the client selected the middle left sketch, but wanted to capture a different stage in the rescuing process, the beginning.

Creative Content - Pedigree Foundation ad

Draw it out

After going back to the drawing board, I sketched out a few interpretations that had been floating around in my head and eventually wound up with the image of an abandoned dog waiting to be rescued.

Creative Content - Pedigree Foundation ad

Digitize, refine, and publish

With the sketch roughly drawn out and the client in approval of the direction, I scanned and vectorized the image on the computer where the rest of the project was completed. This can take a few hours or ten depending on the complexity of the design! One thing to keep in mind is the intended use of the final product. Like the PEDIGREE Foundation, ads can be placed in print. Or, like most of our client work, the products will be used in the digital world and in more than one way.

By allowing extensive brainstorming, sketching, and constructive feedback from the client, a design favorable on both sides will surface, saving both time and money. This is what we love!