5 ways to be more creative

We often hear the term “creativity” said aloud with little understanding of what it actually means. Creativity goes far beyond simply making something new or combining existing ideas. As creatives, our job is to constantly evolve and follow trends in order to provide good service for our clients.

But what happens when the proverbial well is dry and we have no idea how to come up with something new? What are some of the best ways to boost your creativity and start actively working again?

Open to new ideas

You might not like certain types of food, or going to the local ice skating rink. Creatives need to keep their minds open to anything that comes along, and that includes life experiences. Do something that you have never thought of doing before, like eating a new dish or going to a new restaurant or a coffee shop. This will rejuvenate your emotional and mental energy, preparing you to be more creative afterward.

Play pretend

It’s often said that creative people are simply children that managed to survive – and it’s not far from the truth. Creating new web design layouts or visual identities is basically as if a child is playing with crayons. The only difference is that stakeholders, companies and real money are involved.

Try playing a video game set in a comic book world or in space and imagine actually living in that world. Read a fantasy book or watch a good movie with creative creatures and worlds to explore. Playing pretend in this way will also help you develop creative habits in ways you didn’t think possible.

Brainstorm daily

Keep a notepad close to you at all times. As a creative, your job is to constantly brainstorm about the world around you and the clients in your care. This means that you should scribble some names, logos, terms or even designs while you have your morning coffee or afternoon snack. Keeping your brain busy with creative thinking is the best way to be prepared when actual clients and projects come along.

Travel someplace new

You don’t have to go abroad or to a distant island to see something new and recharge your batteries. Traveling to a local site or a museum you’ve always wanted to see can be very beneficial for your creativity. Sometimes the secret to getting into a creative groove is not thinking about it at all. This is exactly what you can do by going on a road trip with your friends, family or by yourself.

Develop a schedule

Some designers and creatives like working at night. Some of them are good at early morning hours and are completely dysfunctional for the rest of the day. Find your sweet spot and stick to it. There is no shame in sleeping during the day if it means you will be more productive at late hours. Creative work revolves around deadlines and being creative – you can’t do that on a strict 9-to-5 schedule. Develop a schedule that works for you personally and don’t deviate from it if you don’t have to.

Rinse and repeat

Staying creative is tricky over extended periods of time. You will definitely have ups and downs, so it’s important to know when to take a break. Don’t push yourself to be creative if it doesn’t click at the moment – get up and do something else for a bit. Once you discover what buttons to push to make yourself more creative again, it will be easier and faster to get back on track whenever you feel unproductive.

5 More Places to Find Powerful Creative Ideas

It’s difficult to find proper inspiration on the web when you need it the most. With so many options at our disposal, getting into the creative groove as soon as possible is often a labor of patience and persistence. It can be hard to find actually useful information on creative ideas that you can implement to your work. What are some of the best places to find powerful, useful ideas for your design projects?

  1. Pinterest

As one of the most popular creative sites on the web, Pinterest has a long history of being a tool of choice for designers around the world. The site functions as a hub of sorts for many other creative platforms, combining that content in one place.

This means that you can create personalized boards and collect inspiring content from around the web, all through Pinterest. The main feature of Pinterest is “pinning” useful and interesting design pieces (from a vast array of categories) and sharing them with your peers. Creatives around the world will do the same for you, ensuring that you are always inspired to do more creative work.

  1. Tumblr

Combining the best aspects of social media platforms as well as creative ideas of designers and artists around the world, Tumblr has built a reputation for itself. The platform allows you to browse through thousands of profiles and specialized pages that revolve around different types of design and art.

You can find everything from sketches and collages to photography and oil paintings on Tumblr. In order to filter the content you don’t really need, the site encourages you to create your own profile and start sorting the content you can use in your own work.

  1. 99designs

As a unique contender on my list, 99designs can serve a multitude of purposes. The site itself specializes in freelance design work but it also provides would-be designers and desperate creatives with a boost of confidence.

Their specialized blog offers a number of useful and creative posts that pop up constantly and cover varying topics on design. You can easily get inspired and start working again if you take a look at some of the work done by resident designers who work on 99 fulltime. If you feel confident enough, you can try your hand at some of the contest as well.

  1. AdsOfTheWorld

For the creative minds working in the marketing industry, Ads of the World offers a unique place for inspiration and discovery. The site operates as a form of a hub for creative studios and companies to promote their work done for in-house clients, meaning that you can learn from actual examples rather than concepts.

Ads also promotes interaction and communication between creatives and marketing firms across the world, so there is also a chance of being hired if you are looking for new contracts. This is a great place to find creative inspiration for your work if you are stuck on a project or simply want to stay up to date on latest developments in design and marketing.

  1. DesignInspiration

Lastly, Design Inspiration offers a similar experience to Pinterest, but with heavy emphasis on design and the creative industry. You will rarely come across a piece of content not related to design, and the “Random” search option ensures that you will always find something new to explore and think about.

Following this site daily can help you stay in touch with your inner creative while also being able to provide new and interesting design solutions for your clients. Once you set up your account and start personalizing your search results, Design Inspiration will become your go-to place for brainstorming and creative problem solving.

Three Keys To Unlock Your Thinking

For all of us creatives out there, it can be hard to stay focused and productive throughout the week. Whether we like it or not, the deadlines we have and the clients we talk to will demand our attention and creative thinking.

Being fixated on work for extended periods of time can be exhausting, but our minds are the sharpest tools we have in the design industry we work in. As someone who struggled with meeting client’s criteria in the past, I will tell you about some of the things I’ve done to free my mind and think more clearly as a result.

  • Open your mind to new ideas

Becoming and staying creative is all about accepting new ideas – no close-minded designer has ever become successful. This means you should do something new, unknown and unexpected every once in a while. Watch an animated movie with foreign voices, go to a Thai or Chinese restaurant even though you never did or simply travel someplace new.

Being open to new ideas and activities helps you stay creative, free and unburdened to the outside world. Unlocking your thinking requires accepting the world as it is, not as you see it personally. Do your best to try everything you can get your hands on and learn to respectfully disagree with the things you don’t like.

  • Scheduled brainstorming activities

You might be familiar with the term “brainstorming” enough to know that it’s pivotal to our profession. Coming up with new ways to combine existing ideas and designs takes practice and ingenuity – something you can only acquire through trial and error. Do yourself a favor and brainstorm on a daily basis.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen and start writing, scribbling, sketching or simply collaging the paper altogether. Doing creative exercises will help you unlock the part of your brain tasked with creative thinking and problem solving – two of the most important traits designers should nourish. You can also go an extra mile and gather your notes into a scrapbook for later use, once you get actual clients and tangible projects to apply them to.

  • Find your chill zone

Designers and creatives are a fickle breed – we need a special place and time to be truly productive. Finding your “chill zone” as I like to call it takes some time and experimentation, which is something not many people like to do. If you are productive in the early hours of the morning, why not use that and wake up really early to work on important projects? Feel like a night owl that doesn’t work well with others? Why not stay up really late and work on whatever design work you have in store for the day?

As a creative, your job is to find the appropriate time and place in which you feel content enough to think freely. This is the true purpose of pursuing creative thinking and unlocking your creative potential. Don’t work in strict hours if you are not that type of a person. What works for some doesn’t necessarily translate well to others, so focus on creating a “chill” schedule that you are comfortable with following.

These are the three rules I try to follow on a daily basis. Some deviations will come along once in a while, but I always try to think of new ideas each day and work in my special corner of the apartment. Find the perfect solution to your creative block by allowing yourself the freedom to shape the world around you. Only then will you manage to unlock your thinking and succeed at becoming a good creative.