designer's diary: 10 ways to stay creative

Hi, this is Ashleigh again, the lead designer here at Design Aglow! I came across this interesting article the other day titled "The 5 Most Dangerous Creativity Killers" and it got me thinking..."What am I doing to stay creative?" That's one of those questions that I think can sometimes be a little confusing, so I assessed my "creativity cultivation" habits, if you will, and here's what I've seen to be most helpful.

1) Try more than what is asked of you. When working on a project, try everything. No idea is a bad idea until you've tested it first. Trying multiple techniques will eventually lead to the right one, but even better, you will have discovered new ways to solve problems and you will undoubtedly use one of those techniques on a future project, even if it's not fitting for this one.

2) Take a time out. Sometimes one of the most helpful things you can do for your brain is to just take a break. Go for a walk. Get up and dance. Run out for coffee. Whatever it is, give your brain some time to just take in some new scenery. It doesn't need to be a long break, something as short as five or ten minutes could be all you need. I have been doing this to get over creative blocks for quite some time and can honestly say this method has never failed me. Walking away from a project for just a little while and coming back to it seems to always offer a fresh perspective.

3) Do something new. Read a new book, go to a play, visit a farmer's market, go to a concert, go to a museum, volunteer, join a new social group, etc. New experiences bring new ideas to your brain. Your creativity draws off of your experiences, so the more new experiences you have, the more you have to draw from - simple.

4) Be open to criticism. I don't mean negative criticism, but true constructive criticism - even if it is harsh. Another person's feedback of your own work can offer great insight.  Even if you thought you had reached perfection, be open to the fact that someone else may in fact have a better idea. Many times that old saying, two heads are better than one is very much true.

5) Be a curious person. Learn a lot about a lot of things. Ask why and how a lot. I'm always surprised where this random knowledge comes into play in my work, but on several occasions it has been just that perfect little bit of knowledge to get my creative thought flowing.

6) Notice details. Creative people are detail people. When you see work you like, notice the details of why you like it. It is usually the smallest details that make all the difference. Learn why those details work and use that knowledge to build upon your own work in a new way.

7) Write down your ideas. This has been so important to me. I keep notebooks everywhere. When I have an idea, I write it down or sketch it out. Some of these ideas end up translating to work, some don't - or haven't yet. :) Creative thought is not very structured, so if an idea comes to you that you hope to remember, it's best to write it down because it is very unlikely that idea will ever come back to you in the same form again. If you write it down, it is there for you to refer back to and build off of on command.

8) Enjoy what you do. Fun and creativity seem like they should be synonymous to me. It is always easier to be creative when you are enjoying the work. If you are not enjoying a project, find a creative solution that gets you excited about the work. I have had a few projects where I knew the direction I was going would eventually turn out okay, for someone else's liking, but something about it really felt against the grain for me. I just was not enjoying the work. So, I switched up the idea and remodeled the work until I was truly enjoying it. In the end, I believe l created better work doing this rather than sticking with my original path.

9) Hang out with other creative people. Creativity really is contagious. Everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to teach.

10) Don't give up! Creativity is often a reward for perseverance. Although it can happen, most often the best ideas are not the first ideas. And no one is brilliantly creative at the flip of switch. It takes time and hard work to develop your most creative ideas. Give yourself the chance and it will be there but don't give up before you reach it. It will be worth it.

How do you stay creative? I'd love to hear! Feel free to comment below~




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