Naked Concepting (And Other Secrets of the Flight 9 Workflow)

Every creative team has a rhythm to the way they interact with clients and the way they develop projects internally. Here is the low-down on the Flight 9 workflow and what you can expect when collaborating with us.

the creative process

First Date

We'll get to the naked thing later. But first! Before things get serious, we need to do some old fashioned background work. With long-standing clients, we are often able to gather the specs for a new project over the phone, but in most other cases nothing beats some quality table-talk. 

At this stage we are trying to get information and specifics, but we also want to understand on a deeper level where you are coming from. How does this project fit into your larger vision? Are you excited, nervous, bewildered, or totally clear on the end game? Within that context, we strive to make sure we know what is expected of us, and we let you know what further info or resources we may need from you in order to get the job done right.

 A Modest Proposal

After the ice-breaker, we get to work creating lists and outlines to establish a fine-tuned picture of the process that will take place and the requirements of the final product. You will likely get a couple of calls or emails from us during this phase to fill in blank spots we discover as we create our roadmap. 

With certain projects we use what is called a Creative Brief. This is like a questionnaire that we complete in collaboration with the client to help everyone get on the same conceptual page. This helps prevent situations where we go off and work up some (brilliant, gorgeous) concepts only to discover that we are headed in a direction completely different than what was desired. (Depending on the project, we may choose to employ the Creative Brief after the project is already contracted, but always before concepting begins.)

Once we've got the essential info, we then create and present a detailed proposal explaining estimated costs, our expected timeline to completion, and other parameters. 

Naked Concepting

Once a client signs off on a proposal, the fun part begins. If you have ever seen MadMen, you're familiar with Don Draper's office couch and the many earth-shattering life and career epiphanies he's had while ostensibly napping. That's actually sort of how it works. Our best ideas tend to show up when we're waking up, taking a walk, pumping gas, or … naked. In the shower. (Yes, that really happens. It's weird to us, too.) It does also sometimes happen while we're sitting at our desks, but so often the prime muses prefer to sneak up on us in unexpected, remote locations.

Once we've wrestled up our inspiration, we proceed to rough sketches, either on paper or digitally. We typically narrow these down on our own a bit, then discuss them in an internal review. From here we spruce things up some more and present our best ideas to the client. (NOTE: These are the times we think about you, oh valued client, in the early morning as we stress over which outfit and accessories make us look the most professional-designer-y as we're throwing on a second coat of deodorant for good measure. It's not unlike the first time meeting your boyfriend's parents.)

Let's All Hold Hands And Jump

The vast majority of the time one of our initial concepts emerges as the clear favorite. In these cases we hit the ground running to fully flesh it out. Sometimes there are competing favorites, in which case we may take a couple of directions simultaneously in an effort to dig deeper into the concepts and come out with a front-runner. There are then typically 2-3 rounds of revisions (sometimes more, sometimes less). Hopefully, when it's all said and done we have produced finished work that exceeds expectations, delights audiences everywhere and contributes to rising profits (and/or other key benefits) for our client.

It is always energizing to launch a final piece into the world knowing we've done good work and made a contribution to our client's success. That absolutely never gets old.


While the development process for each project will necessarily vary, these general phases represent a pretty solid overview of the way we work. The bottom line is that communication, inspiration, clarity and attention to detail are most important to us because we know they are most important to you.

- Melissa