5 Simple Ways to Get Creative Ideas
You know what kills a career in design faster than movie protagonists dispatch villainous fodder? No ideas? Well that’s it, exactly! You can master the art of the pencil, memorize all the irreverent shortcuts for design software, even replicate the Mona Lisa in impeccable 3D, but an empty pocket of ideas would just as soon render your sweat and backache moot. But fear not, dear reader, for I – your loyal author – have just the list to reignite your imagination with these 5 simple ways to get creative ideas:
1. Be a hoarder
Collect all the inspiring, freaky designs that you wish had your name on them – preferably digitally (to fit in with society). This goes doubly so with projects where you already have an aim. Gather templates, design styles, content, memes, screenshots, erotica, whatever tickles your creative fancy and put them in a folder.
Congratulations! You just created your (first? Share your joy with me) mood board for the project. Now a mood board is usually something you employ to gauge a client’s taste and expectations, but then you’re always your own client, no?
Anyway, if neither the making of the mood board nor the reviewing of your hoard inspire you, you already have a viable collection from whence to steal ideas from. If you can’t be a legendary designer with original ideas, a great designer with mind-blowing interpretation, you’ll always at least be a good designer with good old thievery.
2. Take a walk (if you know what’s good for you)
Practice makes perfect. Practice breeds routine. Routine discourages change. And change is of course the essence of design (think otherwise? Tell me why in the comments).
Habits are proven to considerably increase throughput for non-creative, repetitive work. As is the prospect of rewards and incentives. But if you do design, you know design comes from within. Kind of like those corny feelings of determination in animated features, really.
So do this (or don’t, you rebel you), walk away from your routine. Skip work once in a while. Take a break. Listen to some k-pop. Or better yet, step back, sit down, and meditate!
You would only appreciate the ideas that creating distance from your workplace incites.
3. Start crawling – for ideas
You know that one saying – the journey of a thousand steps yadda yadda yadda.
Quite true, regrettably.
When staring at the computer screen for an indeterminate amount of time fails to appease your demands, go medieval. Put your pixel pushers to sleep mode, and take up a pencil & paper. Although any other form of physical art will do just as well.
Sketching out ideas is a great way to judge their feasibility and far faster to prototype with the primitive tools. Also, if you don’t have even an idea on what ideas you could possibly have, just start scribbling randomness. Doodling will jog your creative cogs into action without fail.
4. Sagacity is your noun
You know where ideas come from? It’s a nifty place called memory.
Nothing comes out of nowhere.
As horrifying as it reads, to make amazing ideas, you must first have taken in countless ideas before you. This includes any and all sources of information because ultimately, there is no good or bad knowledge. If it helps you progress or avoid regression, it was worth it.
Take it this way, for a potter to make awe-inspiring earthenware, the base constituent is – simply put – mud i.e. an otherwise distasteful substance.
Making and refining connections between thoughts and events births ideas. This it really all the difference between a veteran designer and a bright-eyed fine arts student (other than the realization that design pays well, just not to the designer).
5. Be like spider
You know what a spider is? Terrifying.
But if you had to contemplate wisdom in a spider, it’d be preparedness.
A – conventional – spider will wander around until it find the right spot, laboriously weave an intricate web, and then lay in wait for prey. This is no assurance of whether any fly will even catch into the trap. But when it does, the spider knows, and then also reaffirms its mealtime by further trapping the bug into a cocoon of ritual death.
Disturbing analogy aside, a designer must always be on the lookout for creative ideas – their own or otherwise. Record your clever thoughts and bookmark innovation when you come across it. You might never use it, but like the spider, should you ever have to, it’ll be glorious!
Whatever the case with your muse, two rules of thumb will never fail any designer. More ideas mean better ideas eventually and group brainstorming – while not always generate any ideas – will indubitably make your existing ideas into better reality.
Finally, give it time, take a breath. Good design never comes about from rushing the ideas. Premature design, as with most things premature, is not a scenario you’ll appreciate the result of.
Have an idea that needs executing? Or a bunch of products that needs ideating? Here at BrandzGarage we pride ourselves on both dreaming and executing greatness for our clients. We have especially professional support for startups!