Oct 27, 2015

7 Ways to Break Free From Your Creative Confines


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By Kim McDonald, Designer at BrandJuice

We’ve all been there, when the creative juices aren’t flowing, every idea is a dead end. You are waiting for that springboard—that idea that catapults your ordinary project into the realm of extraordinary. But how do we get there? Where are designers pulling inspiration to break free of the mundane office environment and stretching their creative muscles? Here are seven of my favorite ways to exercise that think tank.

  1. Get outside & smell the pine trees
    • Don’t be confined by the four walls of your office. The Huffington Post reported researchers from journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience noted that regular exercise seems to be associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking. Two components largely associated with creative thinking. So you heard it here…. first?… folks, those mid-week hikes or lunch time strolls are critical to quieting the noise and honing in on a creative solution.
    • Need ideas? Here’s some! (Royal Arch Hike, Tap & Burger Run Club, Rocky Mountain Paddle Board)
  2. Take in the Local Scene
    • You’re in luck! Denver is chalk full of networking events to inspire and connect. There is a constant stream of the creative minds, self-starters, and industry big wigs pulled together for a singular cause. So learn more about where you can soak up a plethora of industry knowledge. I heard Andrea Stones panel on “Transaction vs. Interaction: The Brand Relationship” at Denver Startup Week was the perfect springboard for building brands that mean more.
    • Missed Denver Startup Week? Try these instead… (Kegs with Legs, She Says, Creative Mornings)
  3. Holler at that old drinking buddy
    • Let’s face it. Our most out there, unrealistic, inspirational ideas stem from a moment of inebriation where we are not inhibited by our own realism. So let down your hair, grab your drinking buddy, and talk shop. You can always scale back those big ideas tomorrow right?
    • Happy Hour hot spots? Hit up these… (Denver Beer Co, Ratio, Finn’s Manor)
  4. Turn those walls into think tanks
    • The best brainstorming can often stem from a random thought or a single word. So write it on the wall and spider out. Turn your corner office into a war room. Become a problem solver and tackle each of your clients visual communication needs with vengeance.
    • Need ideas? Here’s some… (Pinterest)
  5. Collaboration & Emulation
    • Every designer has their favorite artist or approach inspires them. Whether it’s the girl three desks away, Shepard Fairey, or a local street artist, we pull inspiration from creators around us. So use this natural resource and gather the best and brightest minds you know and start thinking, building and creating.
    • Check out these sites… (Design Taxi, The Dieline, Design Milk)
  6. Be the Brand
    • Invest time and yourself into getting to know the client and where their passion lies. As designers we do our best work when we are passionate about the outcome. So whether you are concepting a creative campaign for a fitness studio or creating package design for a cleaning product, immerse yourself into the culture. Go to the fitness class, use the cleaning product, and find the passion that is going to enable your artistry to shine.
  7. Find inspiration outside the category
    • Stuck in the shampoo aisle and can’t find anything that differentiates one from the other? Take a Sunday stroll over to the tea and coffee aisle. Look at parallel world consumer good products are doing to effectively stand out on shelf and interact with consumers.

There is a whole lot of noise in the creative world. Rather than letting it cloud your thinking, let it be the one thing that elevates your work to the next level. Cheers!

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