Creativity is hard. Not in a negative sense, but definitely in a way that most people who don’t share a passion and talent for design take for granted.
When the majority of people see a finished ad, commercial or design they might think of how obvious the message is. They might ask, “Was it worth paying a talented agency to do that?” But what isn’t so apparent is the mental gymnastics that it took to get to that point.
And really that is the point: Creating a seemingly effortless design that is beautiful with a solid underlying conceptual foundation that effectively communicates the client’s brand and message.
But, there are those days when even the best creative director, copywriter or art director find themselves in a creative pinch. And as frustrating as those moments are, you must remember that the efforts we make will eventually open the door for that elusive lightbulb moment. So, if you find yourself flatlining, here are six easy pointers to get those creative juices flowing.
Sketch – Get those thoughts and potential ideas down rapidly allowing you to clear your mind for the next idea. From simple thumbnails to more elaborate logo ideation, see the potential before you touch a mouse and keyboard.
Visualize – Try to imagine yourself using a client’s product or attending an event in the real world. Put yourself into multiple scenarios dealing with a problem and needing that client’s expertise or product. Then, try to arrive at a solution from a not-so-obvious angle where your goal is to achieve a creative twist.
Get Out of the Box (Literally) – Get off your butt and go get coffee or make a lap or two around the building. Use these moments as an opportunity to throw out the rules and let your mind wander. Even request a quick, informal meeting with a creative co-conspirator who has a slightly different thought process or approach.
Seek Inspiration – Look at the work of your favorite artists and creatives. Attend design conferences. Join peer groups. Refresh yourself with the realization that you work in a great field where imagination, hard work and even eccentricity are rewarded. You are fortunate to be here, so embrace the opportunity to be better.
Simplify – Sometimes putting aside the checklist of deliverables and thinking about the core of the brand or service that the client provides can help you remove distractions and plow through mental roadblocks. You can always come back and address those aspects later. The goal is to try and peel away the layers until you reach an authenticity of what that brand or campaign strives to be.
Pad and Paper – And lastly, keep a notebook beside the bed. As cliché as it seems, there will be times when the best ideas pop into your noggin when you’re least expecting it.