Title Build It

Sometimes we can’t begin a project because our view of it is so wide we don’t have a starting point. A title can begin to sort out what theme you are going to be working in, what angle you plan on honing in on and even what mood you will have your project set in. It narrows all the options that are random and unfocused down to something that is concrete and useable.

At the start don’t worry about how your title rolls off your tongue or how easily it will catch people’s attention. Remember, setting a title at the beginning doesn’t mean that is the title you are going to stay with. What you are aiming for is a starting point. It can be utterly outlandish, as long as it captures your imagination that is all that matters.

Titles are short and catchy, usually three or four words at the most. That’s not a steadfast rule especially for how we are going to use it. Starting with just a few words is easier as we’re looking to sift through random thoughts, we’re title building our project not naming it. Begin with one word that sparks your interest, or if you already have an idea in mind use the one word that states it clearly.

For the purpose of clarity let’s pretend we like dragons. To make it more difficult let’s also pretend we’re going to have to do a photo set of three photographs we want to enter in a contest.

(I purposely chose a mythical theme with a concrete medium to make it seem more difficult to come up with an idea. How am I ever going to photograph dragons? ItÂ’s too easy to get three statues of dragons and take three pictures, we’re going to get a lot dirtier than that.)

Our first word:

Next add a word or two to set the mood of your idea:

Battle Dragons, Dark Dragons, Dragons on Fire, Dragons of Floral Elegance. Throw in some totally out of context words. Dragons in Drawers, Living Room Dragons, Vegetable Dragons, Dragons in Ice.

You can see how each word you add changes the mood or theme of the project. That is exactly what you are hoping for. You can add or change words to get the impression you are interested in.

(At this point I already had a good idea of what I was going to use for my photo set, it was the Dragons of Floral Elegance that got my brain in gear.)

You can keep throwing words out in any combination until something sparks within yourself, there is no limit to how many or how few you ultimately use. Don’t be concerned if it takes a while to come up with something you like. And don’t restrict yourself because you believe the concept you’re coming up with may be too difficult or even too weird, have fun with it.

I’m going to use flowers in my example-snapdragons as a first choice. I settled on a light purple to blue for my snapdragons and white for my other flower.

I still need my theme set out a bit clearer at this stage. I’m thinking this is going to be romantic and exotic, so I add those words. Twining snapdragons around lillies goes with my thoughts. Togetherness envelopes my two flowers. I’ve narrowed it down to two flowers in total. (You can see that my title is growing.)

Then I want to create a stark contrast as I build on my theme. (This is my preference you can blend and harmonize, or go totally opposite, anything you like.) A flower that is spiky and dark, with evil intent. Dragon Arum fits the bill, just one of these. I’ll set the three flowers in a group add in ribbon or better scored paper to complete my collage and set up the three photos. I can give you almost an entire story on this but we weren’t looking to do a story just a set of pictures.

So what did I do to come up with that? I used all the words I highlighted. First:Dragons then I added of Floral Elegance. Then I threw in romantic, exotic-twining; Togetherness envelopes my two flowers; stark contrast; spiky and dark, with evil intent; to make my pictures more interesting. I used the snapdragon vines to bind them all together, including the Arum which is my contrast flower. Romance knows no boundaries, hate knows no shame turned out to be my theme.

First set will be the snapdragon and lily together with the arum behind them watching in anger. Second set the arum between the two ill met lovers pushing them apart, the lily likely bruised at his feet. And the third will have all three twined together by the vines of the snapdragon because I like happy endings.

What I get from the title and then the subsequent ideas is more of a short story compacted in the few words I chose for my title. And then I add more words to set my mood and I can add short phrases if I like to expand it and finally to bring it all together.

You can use as many titles for your project as you want. Each stage can be divided and titled to help define each step you need to take to put an entire project together.

Titles work for any medium you use. They’re short and knock out all the overwhelming details you begin to think of when you begin a project. You have a starting point you can easily branch out from to as far and detailed as you like to get.