Finding the essence of an idea; conceptual layers

It's hard to define what an idea is. Probably because it's a very flexible concept, abstract and not tangible. But even knowing its complexity, we should try to make an effort to define it, as it will make our teamwork easier.


Differentiating between the parts of an idea is crucial. We identify three different layers; the shape, the message, and the values.

The values
It's the idealistic part of every idea. It's the code, beliefs and conduct that guides our concept. For example, it could be young, open and fun.

The message
It doesn't matter if we are creating a poster, an app or a building. Every creative outcome contains and delivers a message. It should be based on the list of values we defined before.

The shape
Lastly, we have the format, visual or tangible part of it. Here we'll define its design, look and medium.

When you can see every idea as a sum of these three layers, it's easier to understand that a shape without a message or values it's not a complete idea. That's the reason why us, designers, creatives and strategists, should always start with the values, then the message and lastly the shape of our ideas.