25 Jun Sparking Your Creativity
As the world is becoming more and more advanced and competitive, it has become increasingly important to communicate your work or service to potential clients in a way they have not seen before.
Being creative and thinking through problems is an integral part of any business’ working skill set. Here at 701 Creative, we use our creativity to develop and implement persuasive and memorable marketing and branding campaigns, advertisements, logos, websites, and social media content. The first step to becoming a creative thinker is to become an expert on a subject or skill. Presumably, you’re pretty experienced with what you do, but how often do you refresh your memory with some new literature, or an inspiring TED talk…or flip through a magazine full of other people’s ideas and get a sense of what’s going on in your field? Becoming an expert in problem-solving is the product of years of experience, education and practice. It is a constant balance to find free time and educate yourself on your profession, but ultimately it will pay off in the end because being open and aware of all the factors at play will allow the creative ideas to flow. Curiosity will lead you to creativity, so the more research you and your team do, the more solutions will present themselves.
Looking at projects from an outsider’s perspective can also help you spark these creative solutions. Asking yourself and your team questions that will trigger brainstorming sessions is ideal when facing any challenge at work. On the flip side, looking too closely at a problem can cause you to be pigeon-holed into solving it a particular way, rather than seeing all of the options that can present themselves over time. Something that most people don’t talk about, but what may be the most important tip to a more creative solution, is to unplug….do nothing, take a break, go for a walk. These things can help clear your mind from a particular bias or trend in your thoughts, and after returning to the task with a fresh eye and clear head, you will be amazed at what jumps out at you.
As designers, we challenge ourselves to reach the second level of thinking. All of the initial ideas that come rushing out of our heads when we sit down at the computer, or open up our sketch book, will most likely be ideas that someone has already conceived. These are the obvious first level solutions. Everything has been done before, but how will you approach this problem in another way that will make the solution truly unique for your client?
One particular project that comes to mind is an invitation set we created for the Wistar Institute’s Robert and Penny Fox Tower Grand Opening Gala. We wanted to take an approach that would not only be memorable, but would also inspired by the concept of a grand opening itself. We have done plenty of invitations in the past, but we asked ourselves what would make this one special for this particular client? After a successful brainstorming session, we opted for a unique folding technique that would unveil the information and as the recipient opened it and rest on the desktop in an architectural formation. The theme of “Unfolding the Future” was fitting and carried through to other materials and collateral at the Gala. The result was a beautiful invitation (with kudos coming directly from donor and honoree Penny Fox) and a remarkable turnout for the event.
Whether you are facing creative roadblocks, working to improve your problem-solving skills, or just looking for inspiration on a new project, the creative process will be different for each person. The steps we have outlined above have helped us approach our work with a different mindset. Becoming an expert on the task at hand, taking an outsiders perspective, and pushing concepts to a second level of thinking will allow you to expand your creativity and generate ideas that will set you and your clients apart from the competition.