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Creative Congestion

by April 30, 2012
filed under Style
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Creative CongestionThis week I thought I’d discuss a very important issue that plagues all designers: creativity. Or rather, lack-there-of. Inspired by those days ( like today) where I just can’t think of a good idea for the life of me, I thought I would detail for all of you some ways to clear the blockage. These ideas can be transferable to most creative blocks, so if you’re doing decorating, or whatever you’re working on, they should be of some help to you.

Usually the first place I go is undeniably, the internet. It’s a fantastic resource for imagery, blogs, design websites, etc. A lot of people try to discredit the use of the internet, which I can understand. It can be seen as a cookie-cutter solution to creativity. Perhaps people think that using the internet is really just a way to steal someone else’s idea. I suppose it depends on what you’re using the internet for. I really try to think of it as a starting point to just get my creative juices going. I look at pictures, I browse people’s design blogs and bookmark them for future use and try to get to some starting point.

The next thing I do once I have a starting idea is to write down some notes and just get the ideas out on paper. I usually couple this with some photos and ideas that are indecipherable to pretty much anyone but myself. A great way to visualize your ideas is what we in the industry call a “mood board.” I know a lot of designers that hate to do them, but if I have the time I appreciate the benefit in doing them. Essentially the idea is like scrap-booking (which I know a lot of people do when decorating spaces) where you use a plethora of materials and kind of try to organize them to start visualizing your idea. Let’s say you’re decorating a room and pretty much starting from scratch. You’re now at the point where you kind of know what you want it to look like and you’re collecting paint chips and fabric samples and textures and photos. A mood board is a place for you to put it all together so you can start to map things out.

The other thing I do on a regular basis is take photos of everything, everywhere I go. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera I have with me, as long as I can capture that thing that is calling out to me at random in some kind of fashion. I used to carry note books with me everywhere when I was younger and write everything down, or draw sketches, before I ever had a camera. I still do that, but often a quick shot serves better. It’s also a fantastic way to start looking at the world in a different light; if I go for a walk or something with my good camera I find that I start to see things differently. I start to look at the world in terms of how I can photograph it, and that really gets the gears turning in my head.

When it comes to inspiration there really isn’t a set way to come up with it. It totally depends on your creative process and the way you think. These are just the ways that work for me, although I assure you, it’s a lot more drawn out depending on the project. However, I think the most important thing to remember when it comes to inspiration is that when you truly are blocked and frustrated, walk away and do something else, because you can always come back to what you’re doing.


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