The mission of Curated Creative is to highlight members of GeniusRocket’s Creative Community and bring them closer to you through their personal stories and explanations of creative methods. Today, we feature John Oquist, an incredibly talented designer specializing in motion graphics.
GeniusRocket Curated Creative: John Oquist
Several months ago, advocacy organization EMILY’s List came to GeniusRocket to produce a video in order to recruit volunteers for the 2011 Wisconsin Recall elections. With an extremely tight deadline, creative community member John Oquist was selected to produce the spot. He finished the video within a mere seven days, and it aired on national TV three days later. The video was so successful that EMILY’s List actually stopped recruiting volunteers for their August 3rd call-in night, due to the “overwhelming response.”
We caught up with John the other day, and uncovered some of his techniques and obstacles in creating high-quality video.
Q: When given a GeniusRocket strategic creative brief, how do you begin the creative process?
A: I begin by researching the client and the relevant sectors that they belong to. By looking into the existing video content in a particular industry and the notable competition to a client, I can remain cognizant of current design trends and get a good understanding of how to differentiate my work from existing media.
Q: How do you make sure your work is differentiated from the rest?
A: Each day, thousands of creatives release new work, so getting caught up in trying to completely differentiate yourself is impractical. My foremost goal is to create work that fits the client’s needs. From there, I am able to push and experiment with the project’s visual aspects.
Q: How do you ensure quality in your work?
A: When I work I have a mindset of never being satisfied and try to push myself both visually and conceptually on each new project. The question “Can I do better?” guides the creative process.
So I thoroughly research until I am fully confident that I understand the client’s needs. When creating a motion graphics piece, time and focus ensure quality. With motion graphics, it’s important to create something that is both visually impressive and has the clarity needed to get the intended information across. I think finding the right balance between these two components – without sacrificing informational clarity for design – is key to producing work that fits a client’s needs while standing out visually.
Q: For the EMILY’s List video, what were the keys to ensure you’d engage viewers?
A: Ensuring target viewers had a personal connection with the video was the major key; I did this by highlighting the core issues that voters felt strongly about, communicating them visually in a way that portrayed urgency, and giving viewers information so they felt empowered and knew they could do something to change the existing situation. I think the music also played an important role in imparting an urgent tone, but one with a positive resolution, to the overall piece.
As EMILY’s List is a Democratic women’s organization, the video was primarily intended to highlight opposition policies that are harmful to women. Women span all affected roles, including teachers, politicians, police officers, and mothers, so people can quickly relate to the importance of gender equality.
In general, for political ads, I find it easier to engage viewers as these issues affect everyone – issues like teachers’ pay, collective bargaining, or environmental concerns resonate at a very personal level. People have a sense of urgency when there is something tangible at stake, and many already have a desire to get involved. In that sense, engaging a voter or a volunteer is more about tapping into an existing sense of purpose.
That wraps up the interview! Check out John’s finished work below.