Creativity On Demand, Not Always

creativity on demand image of gears in brainOne of the most challenging aspects of design, is being creative on demand. Shifting creative energies from one project to the next can be mentally taxing. And I’ll admit it, sometimes, the creative spigot shuts off…so how do you cope?

Move On To Something Fun.

Everyone has their own technique for trying to inspire themselves. Often, when I’m working under a deadline and just not feeling creative, I’ll turn my attention to a personal project or to something fun. This usually helps to shift my mind into the creative gear. I find that working on something I enjoy helps the creative juices start to flow - I can then transfer this new energy to the project I just wasn’t motivated to work on.

Music Baby!

I often shift my music to reflect the type of project I’m working on. If I’m doing something refined and upscale, I might listen to classical or what I classify as “sing-a-long rock” (i.e., Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Elton John, etc.) - but if I’m working on something funky…you’ll find me jamming out to 80’s music or Rap & Hip Hop. And then there’s the times I’ll flip on some new age, such as Kitaro or Ray Lynch and Enya to catch that type of vibe. I’m obviously not alone in the use of using music for inspiration - very often if I walk downstairs I’ll hear Casey rocking out to her tunes. I do feel sorry for the others downstairs sometimes….she listens using headphones but she likes to sing…often loudly. She’s a talented designers….but she’ll never make it on American Idol.

Leave The Office.

Funny how being at the office can often sap your creative energies. Perhaps it’s because there’s to many day-to-day distractions? Or maybe it’s because you end up alternatively staring at your screen and at the clock waiting for inspiration to strike - knowing that the deadline is creeping ever closer. Often I’ll head out, it might be simply to Dunkin’ Donuts for a caffeine recharge, or maybe a trip to the local Barnes & Noble - or sometimes I simply go home. I know it sounds crazy….but I’ve had some of my most productive and creative moments while sitting on my couch - working sans distractions.

Play With Cats!

Since we have fuzzy butts that live at the office - they tend to be a convenient distraction when you’re procrastinating. Grab a cat, snuggle with them, play with them, or simply feed them insane amounts of treats. Funny thing, after spending a while with them - I find my mind is more relaxed and it’s easier to get back to work. They do say pets help reduce stress - and “they” may be onto something.

Do Some Brainstorming

Sitting and talking with others can also fuel the creative fire. We’ll often gather before or after lunch, or at the holy shrine we call the coffee maker and chat about the projects we’re working on. Sometimes constructive criticism or quick brainstorming can get you thinking in a different direction and expand your options. It’s why we always say there’s no bad ideas….just ones we make fun of…but in reality it’s always helpful to listen to the opinions of others - then evaluate what they’ve said to see if it has merit.

Flip Through Old Or New Design Books & Magazines

We have a large library of inspirational books and industry magazines, such as How, Step By Step, Print, etc - and when you’re really struggling to find the creative motivation - looking at cool designs by others can start the mind bubbling. As Picasso said, “To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic.” I interpret this as, you can draw inspiration from others. Sometimes it will challenge ourselves to work outside of our design comfort zone by looking at something else and saying, “that’s cool, I’d like to do something like that.”

Do What Ever It Takes To Be Creative

What flips the creative switch from off to on will probably be different every time and for everyone. But what ever it is that starts you up, when you have to be creative and it’s just not flowing…you have to try something. Because as we all know…when you force a design it generally disappoints and it’s something you’ll never be proud to show.

It can certainly be challenging some days. We all face the uninspiring projects, or the days when it just isn’t flowing….it’s hard to be creative on demand. It just doesn’t work like that. But we all have to find our solution, because we know it has to be done and it has to be good.

So What Do You Do To Inspire Your Creativity?

Share your techniques and tricks for charging up your creative mind. What do you do to make yourself creative on demand?

Mar 14, 2009

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