Written By Joe Tudor

Creativity is not Divine

March 23, 2011 | creativity / design

Creativity is a skill that we all desperately need in order to excel. Are you one of the many individuals that believe in the false mindset that you aren’t creative? I think we can do better than that. It’s true that some people have a little more imagination than others, but the good news is creativity is a trade that can be attained if you are willing to put in the time, enthusiasm, and effort.

Most things in life are developed out of necessity. Arithmetic is not my strong suit, but if I applied myself, I’d probably be able to hammer out a few equations. Some of us believe that in order for an idea to be successful, it must be completely groundbreaking. So why try? Someone else will do it, right? Be assured that others will certainly keep moving regardless of your pace. It’s just a matter of you deciding where you want to go.

So we’ve devised a little formula to help you in your journey toward creativity:


When a new project begins, one of the first steps is to establish a vision. Far too often for designers, the direction given from the client goes a little something like this: “Do what you think is best”. GREAT, we love to hear that! Generally designers will try to get as much information as possible on the project at hand. Unfortunately this rarely happens, and we’re lucky if we receive a logo file or color scheme.

We designers love tons of details and specifics in order to best reach the target audience. So we start up a dialog to kindle some thoughts and ideas.

          Designer: What would you say the overall mood or emotion of the project should be?

          Client: Professional Looking.

          Designer: Cool. Are there any other projects or events out there that you admire?

          Client: Not really (long pause). I guess I’ll know it when I see it.

          Designer: GULP

Aside from starting an endless cycle of back and forth design pong, this is a less than eager way to get a project rolling. Seth Godin calls these "-----insert a word here------"  “potholes” and acknowledges the importance of addressing issues early on, rather than later. It can sometimes be difficult to get ideas out there and it’s ok to struggle with verbalizing thoughts. Don’t worry though, get that equation we told you about earlier and let’s get to it! Sure, it might be frustrating at times and easy to make excuses or quit, but don’t give in. You will be rewarded for your earnestness. Ideas will start flowing and before you realize it, you’re being creative!

Strategy is essential. You must have a plan. For example, say it’s time for a new website. Client tells designer that a photo of Larry, the custodian MUST be on the home page because the company is Employee Driven. That’s cool and all, but the priorities may be wrong (no offense Larry). We need to set goals, identify needs, and focus on what users need to see in the spotlight. As these areas are addressed, a funny thing starts to happen…You start to see it! The project begins to come to life and the pieces start to fit.

Don’t be afraid to assert your knowledge into the mix. So what if someone isn’t feeling your idea? At least you’re bringing it to the table for discussion. Silence the voice in your head that tells you to be quiet and hope no one will notice you. Your thoughts are valuable and vital to the success of your project. It’s hard work, but the end result is always equal to the amount of effort applied.

So what’s it gonna be…are you creative?

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