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As a visual communicator, ideas stew and linger in the nostril well beyond what is healthy. For any given project, ideas are pursued and while some might smell of an egg salad san’wich on a locker room bench, many others are great ideas that never got their chance to be hatched and explored. Eggs that could have been a souffle if given more time… the “what-if” ideas that linger.

At openbox9 our process is to create quick concepts – quick iterations – fail fast and repeat until we narrow ideas down to a few. Below are quick concepts for our dear client 9marks and their journal covers. These publications explore many complex topics so creating the right visuals that attract a reader is a challenge I love. Through the last seven years, we’ve made many omelettes, but these discarded ideas linger in my mind…

Cheese Slice concept
This actually was the first idea and jokingly suggested by a teammate. We still have all this cheese in the office fridge.

9marks Journal reformation
Bringing Luther into a new town square

finger paint concept
Finger painting in my office threads? Anyday.

sneaky gator
Sneak attack! Visions of blood and gore were scraped early on.

world upended
Adding another layer of background while increasing the contrast and this would have been gold.

dive in concept
Diversity makes life better – dive in and be cross cultural.

beauty in chaos
Coloring three stock photos to embrace the beauty in chaos – can you feel the breeze?

getting by paper concept
Sometimes you have to get by with a piece of paper living in your back pocket.

I never knew why I couldn’t run by the pool until I slipped and bit the pool. A lesson that applies to everything in life.

old painting jesus stage right
Taking the focus off the subject of the painting, in this case Jesus, and moving him stage right takes a dusty painting and makes it intriguing.

Be safe out there creatives and keep laying eggs.

Michael Schafer
Michael has spent the past 25 years applying his experience and superpowers to further the missions of social-good organizations, and has no plans to stop.