The art of the scamp

Your first question might be ‘What is a scamp?’. Well, it’s something that creative agencies should use as much as possible when working on campaign concepts and ideas. It’s a sketch of an idea, and represents how the concept works.

What’s great about the scamp is it allows ideas to be worked on and presented without having the feel of a final design piece. It doesn’t display typefaces, photography style or written copy, it purely displays ‘the idea’.

Now, a scamp can be something that the agency uses internally, but it can also be shared with the client at this early stage.

Why would you want to do or see that? Well, as you would expect, when an idea is presented with ‘real’ photographs and draft content, often this is what is focused on rather than the overarching idea, as that’s the natural thing to do.

At the early stage of a campaign’s development and creation, the focus should be purely on the idea. Does it work? Does it meet the brief? Can it work as a campaign rather than just an advert? These are all key points a marketer should be looking at and asking themselves. The styling and detail can come later – at this point the key question is ‘Does the concept work?’.

A scamp allows the agency and the client to discuss the idea in its purest form. It can be changed quickly and easily, it can be sketched out in meetings if required – don’t be surprised if markers and layout pads attend meetings with your creative team: they should. It allows the team to get an idea down quickly, or to show something that they see in their mind’s eye rather than trying to describe it.

A creative never switches off: if a great idea comes on the train, at dinner or even in the middle of the night, it can be sketched down. Much as anyone else would write themselves a reminder on a post-it, or set a note on their smartphone, a creative will sketch down a rough idea whenever they have it, and then take it to their drawing board to tidy up and develop.

But for the presentation of ideas, the scamp allows your creative agency to get their idea across to you in its most basic form. After all, if it works in a sketch, it’s going to work once it’s fully worked up into a final piece, with set typefaces, a photoshoot and your brand applied.

At least then, as a marketer you have a good understanding of the concept itself before any creative is worked up on a Mac. That way, you can assess the design style independently as you can already be sure that the concept itself works.

This then gives a platform to create the final template to be used across all channels.

The scamp is a vital, and much underrated, piece of the creative process. A simple sketch is an incredibly powerful way to get the idea across quickly, and in its purest form.

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