by Justin Brown
(cue infomercial) Howdy! Are you struggling to develop that breakthrough concept for your design project? Does your creative process (or lack of one) leave you shaking from slamming cup after cup of coffee, just to come up with fresh ideas? Well you’ve lost your creative mojo! Below I’ve compiled 10 ways to (hopefully) help get it back.
Listen to music. Pick a genre that inspires you, makes you move, scream, think, dream, imagine. Turn it up and drown out the outside distractions. If it doesn’t make you more creative, you should probably see your doctor.
Brainstorm often. If done right, brainstorming can help you not only come up with bushels full of new ideas, but can help you decide which is the best and which ones suck. Do it often, even for little things like, the best way to organize your sock and underwear drawer. (We all should go do this right now.)
Carry a notebook. Always carry a small notebook and a pen or pencil around with you. That way, if you are struck with thoughts, you can quickly jot them down. Upon reviewing your notes, you’ll probably discover 90% of your ideas are crap. But don’t worry, that’s normal. What’s important are the 10% that are pure genius. Be sure to put the lid back on the pen and don’t point the pencil downward in your pocket. (Side note, the actual “Notebook” movie made me, admittedly, emotionally unstable. Tissue please.)
Grab a dictionary. If you’re stuck with your mouth open and a blank stare waiting for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to create ideas incorporating this word. You’d be surprised how well this works. The concept is based on a simple but little known truth: freedom inhibits creativity. Nothing like restrictions to get you thinking.
Define your problem. Grab a sheet of paper, notebook, computer or whatever you use to make notes, and define your problem in detail. You’ll probably find ideas positively spewing out once you’ve done this.
Walk it off. If you can’t think, go for a walk. A change of atmosphere and fresh air is good for you, and gentle exercises help shake up the brain cells. Watch out for goose poop. Disclaimer: not responsible for your actions and if you hurt yourself. Possibility seek direction from an exercise instructor.
Don’t watch TV. Your momma always told you the TV would make you go blind if you stare at it long enough. I’m sure there are studies that show watching TV causes your brain to slowly trickle out your ears and/or nose. It’s not pretty, but it happens. (Feel that?)
Say NO to drugs. People on drugs think they are creative. To everyone else, they seem like people on drugs.
Read a lot. Pay attention, read as much as you can about everything possible. Books, magazines, blogs, cereal boxes, etc. exercise your brain, provide inspiration and fill you with information that allows you to make creative connections easily.
Exercise your brain. Your brain needs exercise to keep fit. If you don’t exercise your brain, it will get flabby and useless. Exercise your brain by reading a lot (see above), talking to clever people and disagreeing with people – arguing can be a terrific way to give your brain cells a workout. But note, arguing about politics or film directors is good for you; bickering over who should scoop the litterbox is not.
All designers have ruts and I hope these ideas help you drive out it and onto a nicely paved road, free of potholes, dead animals and well, ruts. Smile like the guy from that man’s product commercial – your mojo is back!
Why are you still reading this?
If you’re still reading this, stop and get out and do something creative already!