One of the hardest thing to explain in the holy triangle of idea – design – concept is the meaning of “concept” . I have written about what a good (creative) concept is before, but obviously those few rules* still leave a lot of room for interpretation.
One of the words that can better help you understand what a concept is, is “theme”. To make one thing clear from the start. A theme is not a concept. Let me repeat that. A theme is not a concept. A theme is a subject or a unifying motif.
Think about a party with a gangster theme. The party will be dressed with known visuals related to gangsters. If done well you might imagine you are in the 20′s about to meet Al Capone.
But everything is about the outside. About looking like something else.
If you want a party with a gangster concept, you will have to rethink what a party is. What gangsters are. And how you can use the logic, the relationship types and the inner workings of a gangster organisation to reimagine what a party can be. You could think of a party where there’s people having access to a secret stash of booze and a game to be able to get to it. A party with areas that are under control of rivalling gangs with a different set of rules at different tables. All the aspects of the party could be influenced by the inner logic of a gangster organisation. Quite different from just dressing up with a fedora, isn’t it?
* What makes a good concept
A good concept narrows your focus and therefore eliminates possibilities.
A good concept narrows your focus and therefore guides you to possibilities that are a bit less obvious.
A good concept inspires the design and production process.
A good concept is a guideline to the design and production process.