Creativity is more than equipment. It is more than typing or clicking. It is more than the latest and greatest fonts and color palette. Creativity encompasses more than all of that. It is a mindset… a way of life, if you will, that includes both the approach as well as the execution. And it is not even limited to graphic design and programming. We can all be creative in one way or another.
If you are banging your head against a wall for a new idea, feel the need to contemplate the challenges of the switch from PC to a Mac, or whether or not to drink another cup of coffee to boost your creativity, then take a step back and look at these five ways to jump-start your creative process.
- Be Strategic
I know this may sound counter-intuitive. But the left brain and the right brain need to work together. You need to have a plan. Define what you want to accomplish and what methods you need to use. I am not saying you need a spreadsheet to chart out the ramifications of varying font sizes, but I am saying that it needs to be thoughtful and intentional.
- Don’t Think About a Box
Many people say to try something new, they should think outside the box. Some people say the constraints are too tight inside the box. FORGET THE BOX! Dream. Find the best solutions given your parameters (you should have figured some of those out in Point 1). And if you have to use a box… sometimes the best way to think outside the box is to think inside the box.
Good creative ideas can come from the strangest places. Sometimes when you get your mind off a project for a while and focus on something else (or nothing at all) a solution will present itself. This stimulates your right brain with meaningful activity that allows the subconscious to percolate and bring that inspiration to the top. Sometimes even moving around to a different location. One time, I merely sat on the other side of my desk and got a fresh perspective.
- Continue Learning
Always keep up with the latest trends and thought leaders in your specific area of expertise, as well as some areas that are not your strong suits. If you continue to learn, you become well-rounded and an even greater asset to your co-workers. Because we know that a great idea can come from anywhere (see Point 3), you may be the catalyst that sparks another person’s creativity.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
No creative solution will take place without first taking a leap. It may be the best idea or the worst idea, however, you will never know until you try. And if it is the worst idea… EVER (I have had a few of those), it becomes a learning experience (see Point 4). And sometimes “this” idea will spark “that” idea which will spark another idea to inevitably bring about the final solution. And yes, there will be those times where the final solution will also fail. Do not let it bog you down and stifle creativity. Pick yourself up and move on to the next project.
While not nearly an exhaustive list, keep these things in mind the next time your creative process needs a little help.
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