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What counts as a creative process?

I like to consider myself a creative person. I have created a bunch of projects, so I assume that involves a process of some sort, but I’m not sure if that’s what I would call my creative process. If that’s it, then my process isn’t very interesting. It’s simple and it gets the job done. I guess at the end of the day it’s the result that you want to be interesting, not necessarily the process. So that’s okay.

When I’m looking at a blank page, I do best with an approaching deadline. If I don’t have a deadline, I’ll set one for myself to create a sense of pressure. Somehow that is the key to sparking my creativity. I’ll put myself in an open room with lots of things and people to look at– not too loud or too quiet. I think being in a different environment from my usual emailing and day-to-day tasks is what helps the most. I’ve had my best ideas and designs when I’ve been in weird/new places. That makes sense though, because I’m exposed to a lot of new stimuli and that’s what helps making the unexpected connections– which I guess is what creativity is all about. I definitely do better if I’m caffeinated than if I’m dead tired, but the very best is if I’m just at peace. Aware of the deadline, but not stressed. Alert, but not hyperactive. I know that I have a hard time focusing if I’m listening to music. Music is great for getting work done once I have the initial idea, but it definitely makes the brainstorming harder.

If it’s design inspiration I’m looking for, working on a graphic or flyer for something, I’ll start by googling the subject to see what’s already out there. Sometimes it’s annoying that Google will pull up the most random and most unrelated images, but sometimes that’s really helpful. Once I have a basic object or scheme that piques my interest, I’ll look at design blogs for inspiration for effects and illustrating and see what I actually am able to do.

If I’m looking for inspiration for a creative campaign, I do best with pen and paper– not a blinking cursor. Writing down related words help me come up with the ideas surrounding a product/service and brainstorm what it is people are looking for. I’ll think through the antonyms and a lot of what-if scenarios. Sometimes it’s the exaggerations that are the most fun. Almost like you have to get way off track in order to find out where you really need to be, if that makes sense. It’s a good way to put the product/service in perspective, by taking it way out of its normal context.

If I’m really stuck, I’ll usually turn to the internet and browse social media, but that really doesn’t get me anywhere. To actually refresh my mind, I need a solid break to get away from the subject. I’ll try going on a run, listening to music to completely focus on something else. Or I’ll work on a project for class. Once I come back to refocus, I’m usually able to think about something from a fresh perspective. If that still doesn’t work, I’ll try calling one of my parents for their perspective. It’s not even that I would use one of their ideas— not that their ideas are bad; they have great ideas usually– but it’s just enough to help me approach the problem from a new angle.

Anyway, that’s usually how I get things done. It’s a lot of trial and error. But that moment when you stumble upon something awesome makes every other attempt worth it.

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