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The Creative Block


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#1 whitemark

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 05:22 PM

Ever had one of those days when you just stare at the computer for hours and still can't come up with a design or an idea? I was having trouble with this for quite some time. Than I noticed that on some occasion it was purely because I just didn't have enough information on my hand. Well, that has solved 50% of the problem. But I still do get stuck occasionally. How do the rest of the cre8ive designers here deal with it?

#2 Black_Phoenix

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 06:12 PM

Hi pencil and paper works well for me, start scribbling shapes, curves etc then colours most are pretty simple eg (wedding site = pinks purples) also a pantone book is well worth buying, or look at some of the sites listed in the Colour themes post

http://www.cre8asite...?showtopic=3066

Its also good to collect images that you like and colours that work well with each other, another thing i do is create monster layered photoshop files and drag bits round (hue and saturate) to change colours, usually it sparks something I like, my rule on it is not to have any restraints, just be free (and always keep what you have done as you can sometimes use it for new designs).

I have heard of people looking at other peoples sites or web template sites, but once you do its so hard to not copy them inadvertently, so I tend to steer clear of that if I can.

brainstorming is another good option, write words super fast eg

tree > wood > paper
tree > leaves > green > bark > texture > grain

be interested to see how others get their ideas

bp

#3 bragadocchio

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 08:01 PM

I have a few different methods for overcoming a creative block.

When I'm at a loss for words, when I can't find one to fit after another, and my imagination seems empty, I'll sometimes grab a book from a favorite author, and start typing out a passage, or two, or three, and think about what the author was going through as he or she wrote it.

Why did this happen, and who might this character have been based upon, if he or she actually existed, what role does the place in the story play, and is the author trying to do more than just tell us a story.

I find a movie will often do the same, free my mind for a while, and make me think of other things. It helps me get a different perspective on a problem or a project by making me focus on something completely different for a while.

#4 AbleReach

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 09:26 PM

I enjoy a combination of incubation, brainstorming and research.

If I feel stuck, I put myself in the shoes of a persona, and write as if I am agitated, delighted, bored, dissatisfied, curious, etc., about the topic.

If I need ideas for a site about gift baskets, I try to imagine what the giver or recipient would say. For instance, a real estate agent might want to supply gift baskets for buyers. What would really hack off or delight the realtor? What might get a delighted thankyou from the recipient? What would solve or cause a problem? What would be a nice surprise?

If I am not in the mood I go for a walk or bake bread. I'll do something unrelated - laundry, even. If I have to make progress on the project, I'll do work on an unrelated part - say drawing site structure ideas on paper when I am stuck on an article. The problems and solutions will be rolling around under the surface, incubating.

On a regular basis I give myself a few minutes at a time to write up little lists - my own values or curiosities at the moment, someone's USP, what someone admires or would be nice for their customers... Writing like this is a discipline. It's going to happen if I want to or not, just like dedication to being civil on crap days or changing the kitty litter. The inconvenience is less important than the discipline, and the discipline is an open door I make for myself and anyone who may benefit from whatever I'm involved in.

If I'm stumped, I probably don't have enough information. I enjoy keyword research, especially comparing keywords with the sites behind them - size, market target, useability, elegance and overall mood. I like pretending I am a customer with an emotional attachment to the topic but no attachment to the site.

I have a thing about psychology, and I'm analytical to a fault. I enjoy looking at statistical analysis, especially if related to motivation, learning modes, or self esteem. Originally I wanted a neural-behavioral psych doctorate. Transfering that stuff to learning about web work is a natural. Between one's ears and in the world, communication, values and attitude are everything.

Elizabeth

#5 Tangaroa

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 01:52 AM

The change of environment could be enough for me to get new ideas. For instance a walk in the park could help to get new ideas and to get a clear my mind. In fact I do in mind what Black Phoenix was saying about the word associations too. Just looking at nature and how nature works often brings me new ideas. It might sound strange but it really helps...

#6 bwelford

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 04:03 AM

I ask my associate for ideas:

Posted Image

Although sometimes like Tangaroa, we have to go for a walk in the park to really get the thoughts flowing.

#7 Tangaroa

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 04:06 AM

and now everybody goes like:" ooh how cute"! :)

#8 jeremy

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 06:14 AM

I often find that sleeping on it helps.

#9 whitemark

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 07:18 AM

Thanks for the great tips Black_Phoenix.

"I have heard of people looking at other peoples sites ... its so hard to not copy them inadvertently" - Though I do look at other sites to figure out layouts, yes, sometimes it does push you more into a muddle when you find yourself copying more than the layout.

"write words super fast" - This is the first time I heard of this one. Sounds very interesting.

I find a movie will often do the same, free my mind for a while ...

I do the same thing but with music. I find certain songs like 'A Simple Man' or 'Summer of 69' a nice diversion and a chance to think about something else. Have marked such songs in iTunes, and on occasion listen only to those.

Not much natural scenery around where I live, so walking only helps when there are lots of damsels around. :)

#10 whitemark

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 07:40 AM

I have a thing about psychology, and I'm analytical to a fault.

Ah ... nice to find someone else who shares a passion for psychology. :)

If I am not in the mood ...

From the many psycho books, a simple solution for this age old problem of "Waiting for the 'right mood' to do something".

Excuse: I just don't feel like doing this ... I am not in the mood ... I just don't feel creative right now ... I am bored ...
Solution.

Seriously. While it sounds cliche, it isn't. Many mistakenly believe that you need to be in the 'mood' to do something. The reality is that only when you start doing something, you get in the 'mood'.

If you have difficulty in accepting this, than you probably believe that a person has to be motivated before he'll do something, i.e., motivation comes before action. Though logical, it isn't so. Motivation doesn't come first, action does. You need to act to feel motivated. Action is the fuel that feeds motivation.

Of course, a creative block is something totally different - you just don't know where to start ...

#11 folex

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 07:48 AM

I usually hit the bottle and rarely recover.

F.

#12 TheManBehindTheCurtain

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 09:27 AM

Unambiguous sign that I've reached a creative block and am engaging in escapist behaviors: I find myself peering into the fridge, looking around, realizing I don't know what I'm looking for and don't remember getting up out of my office chair and padding into the kitchen.

Technique for writing: I'm frequently stuck on the headline or first paragraph, since those are the most important. So I tell myself: Start writing from the middle. Capture all the stuff I know I need to cover. Often this early writing just helps solidify my thinking on the subject, and the headline and the first paragraph come more naturally after that.

Technique for design: Surf, surf, surf. Then, get away from the monitor and use a white board to scribble. It often helps to go back and read the business brief -- that is, re-acquaint yourself with the business and usability needs, the "non-design" aspects of the project. Sometimes I think it's easy to "block" when you lose track of the goal and just obsess about shapes and colors.

Best universal technique: Goof off until the very last moment. Then bring it all together in a flash of late-night effort. For me personally, desperation and inspiration are intimately linked. :)

#13 Black_Phoenix

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 09:46 AM

Hi one thing that does show through, through everyones replies and I did nt mention it earlier is try to relax and get away from the mental barrier.

Some read, some walk dogs, and some scribble but everyone is getting away from the design problem. I have found in the past you just get more uptight and frustrated trying to design, and this just makes it worse, just have a break watch a film, examine the contents of the fridge, walk the dog (borrow one if you dont have one) :)

just relax, and the ideas will flow

thanks to everyone for their input

bp

#14 ukdaz

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 09:57 AM

I agree with Black Phoenix in that looking at other sites can make it hard not to copy.

I usually hit the bottle and rarely recover.


Folex, thats my DREAM way of doing creative design... :)

Goof off until the very last moment.


Frank , I gotta admit I have had quite a few moments like those!! :oops:
Then I bought a book on time management and things got a bit better.

The best way I found was to pay others to do the design if I am having a bad time of it. Local graphics students need the work and with the potential of more work they always do the BEST work!

It gets them some commercial experience for their portfolio and a bit of dosh... just pays to get the right minded student (who is not always on the p*ss and thinks you owe them a well paid living)

Daz

#15 AbleReach

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 03:22 PM

Well, there's
not in the mood ---> avoidance
vs
not in the mood ---> productive incubation

In my experience, struggling with all-or-nothing avoidance fortifies the belief that I have to be in the mood to make progress.

I can be not in the mood and still make progress.
1. Let go a little, not a lot (no all or nothing projections, please)
2. Believe that just doing something, regularly and in little chunks, helps break down the avoid versus produce boundaries.
3. Progress is not magical. You just do it. In the process...
4. The magic of inspiration only happens when there is a cross pollination of ideas. Ya gotta get out there and exercise an open and go philosophy.

I like Dorthea Brande's little book "Becoming a Writer."
She has several simple exercises that reset your mind from all or nothing to "I wonder what will happen next?"

Elizabeth

#16 thirstymoose_2000

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 01:34 PM

I also play word association games to try and get through. They often help with the writing and overal theme or metaphor for the site.

One thing that helps me often is hitting stock photography sites (and in the old days catalogues, anyone remember having stacks of about 50 catalogues from Masterfile, Tony Stone, ect stacked in your office?). Look at photos (you may even have original photos from the client) and they can sometimes generate all kinds of ideas.

If the company exists in real life, a tour or visit can be quite helpful. If you are just building a web site for them and they already have collateral material it can be a guiding way, simply because you should stick with the branding they've already done.

Talking to staff and customers can be helpful as well.

There is the famous story of the Capo d'astro bar, my prof in college gave us a copy of it, very inspiring...


Back in the sixties, I was hired by an ad agency to write copy on the Aeolian Piano Company account. My first assignment was an ad to be placed in The New York Times for one of their grand pianos.

The only background information I received was some previous ads a few faded close-up shots . . . and of course, the due date.

The Account Executive was slightly put out by my request for additional information and his response to my suggestion that I sit down with the client was, "Are you one of those? Can't you just create something? We're up against a closing date!"

I acknowledged his perception that I was one of those, which got us an immediate audience with the head of the agency.

I volunteered that I couldn't even play a piano let alone write about why anyone should spend $5,000 for this piano, especially when they could purchase a Baldwin or Steinway for the same amount.

Both allowed the fact they would gladly resign the Aeolian business for either of the others, however, while waiting for that call, suppose the deadline was attended to.

I persisted and, reluctantly, a tour of the Aeolian factory in upstate New York was arranged. I was assured that "we don't do this with all of clients" and my knowledge as to the value of company time was greatly reinforced.

The tour of the plant lasted two days and although the care and construction appeared meticulous, $5,000 still seemed to be a lot of money.

Just before leaving, I was escorted into the showroom by the National Sales Manager. In an elegant setting sat their piano alongside the comparably priced Steinway and Baldwin.

"They sure do look alike," I commented.

"They sure do. About the only real difference is the shipping weight-ours is heavier."

"Heavier?" I asked. "What makes yours heavier?"

"The Capo d'astro bar."

"What's a Capo d'astro bar?"

"Here, I'll show you. Get down on your knees."

Once under the piano he pointed to a metallic bar fixed across the harp and bearing down on the highest octaves. "It takes 50 years before the harp in the piano warps. That's when the Capo d'astro bar goes to work. It prevents that warping."

I left the National Sales Manager under his piano and dove under the Baldwin to find a Tinkertoy Cap d'astro bar at best. Same with Steinway.

"You mean the Capo d'astro bar really doesn't go to work for 50 years?" I asked.

"Well, there's got to be some reason why the Met uses it," he casually added.

I froze. "Are you telling me that the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City uses this piano?"

"Sure. And their Capo d'astro bar should be working by now."

Upstate New York looks nothing like the front of the Metropolitan Opera House where I met the legendary Carmen Rise Stevens. She was now in charge of moving the Metropolitan Opera House to the Lincoln Center.

Ms. Stevens told me, "About the only thing the Met is taking with them is their piano."

That quote was the headline of our first ad.

The result created a six year wait between order and delivery.

My point is this. No matter what the product or service, I promise you, the Capo d'astro bar is there.



#17 TheManBehindTheCurtain

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 04:02 PM

Oh, now you've done it. Memory lane.

All I ever learned about writing advertising I learned from a guy who owned one of the largest mail-order retailers of fishing equipment. My first job out of college. I was told to write the full-page catalog copy for a particular brand of fishing lure. Trouble is, I had never been fishing in my life (and never have!). All I was given: the phone number of the president of the small company that made it. I phoned him up, and like a proud father he told me about the 17 steps required to make the lure: shaping the balsa wood, sanding, varnishing, polishing, fitting the hook, etc. I wrote it all up in concise and sparkling detail.

My boss (a guy no more than 5 years older than me actually, a mail-order wunderkind) came to my office and just tossed the copy back on my desk. "I'm so disappointed in you Frank," he said. I don't remember how I recovered, but I probably asked if I'd gotten the 17 steps wrong. He told me something I'll never forget: "I don't care if they spit on it 17 times for good luck. That isn't why people buy it. People buy it because they just want to catch big fish."

That's all you need to remember about writing advertising: "People just want to catch big fish." Tap into the audience's personal, visceral motives. Whenever I'm stuck for advertising, I try to put myself in the place of the buyer, feel what they feel, and try to explain how we'll help them fulfill their ambition, alleviate their fear, or satiate their needs. How they can catch big fish.

Works every time.

#18 invader

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 12:44 PM

A walk nails the problem. Always.

#19 AbleReach

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 05:13 PM

A walk nails the problem. Always.

You remind me of a story. Someone I know was buying shoes. Another customer came in and said "I am a glass blower. I need boots that have thick, slow-to-melt soles, because I need time to move if I step on a hot spill. The top of the boot should protect me from dropped glass, sometimes molten, sometimes just heavy and sharp." The salesperson knew just what to suggest. After discussion there was a sale, and the glass blower went home happy.

Both customer and salesperson had to know the problem and the possibilities. The customer needed to pick the right store. The salesperson probably had to think creatively. Perhaps knowledge and creativity are like having the right work boots for walking on nails, molten glass, or whatever else is needed.



Elizabeth

#20 whitemark

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 05:28 PM

Reduce Clutter

No, I do not practise Feng Shui. This is a recent thing I've been trying and just realized lately.

Designers are often trained to think that everything has a right place, that every design element should contribute to the overall design, and it can only do that if it has particular characteristics; "it has to be this shape, it has to be angled in a particular direction, it has to be in the center" etc. I am sure most of these also apply in other creative fields too, like writing for example, where every situation and character should contribute to the overall plot and can only do so if they have particular characteristics.

And hence most of us train ourselves to think this way, consciously or unconsciously. This makes us very susceptible to clutter.

Clutter or disorganization sends a constant signal to the creative mind that something is wrong. Things aren't the way they are supposed to be. "The books aren't supposed to be strewn around, the plates need to be cleaned, the stain needs to be removed" etc are clutters that are 'visual' and hence powerful. These constantly weigh on our mind. Some, like Elizabeth here, unconsciously realize this, and that's why she does the laundry before going back to work. Others don't even realize this and hence they feel the need to relax because they can't understand what's bothering them. And while relaxing does help to make our thoughts clearer, if the clutter isn't dealt with it will continue to bog down our minds.

Small things can weigh heavily on our mind over time. And such distractions prevents our creativity. So sometimes just cleaning up the small clutters around us can make us more creative.

#21 whitemark

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 12:39 PM

Corollary to removing distractions: Concentration: the ability to direct your thinking.
By the way, do you think this is taking the thread in another direction (i.e has nothing to do with creativity)?

#22 Ruud

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 08:06 AM

Solution: Nike says it best - Just do it.


The true answer, in my opinion.

Back in the days when I wanted to become A Writer, as a primary source of income, this was the advice you got from everywhere: if you want to write, write. Do it everyday. No matter what. Just sit and write. It doesn't have to be good or make sense - as long as you do it. And as long as you do it you train your mind to think "Write".

I apply the same to all my primary activities. For example, I program every day, even when I don't have a real project going on. When I don't do it for a week (excuse: "Vacation") and start back I notice how easily the mind rusts. Ideas and solutions come slower. Syntax for certain statements needs to be looked up again. Ideas for something else to proram are gone.

I guess that site design is similar. Have your own standard HTML file with speciific classes. Sit everyday and change the look & feel through some CSS. Within the first 15 minutes of doing this I guarantee you your mind suddenly hits an idea for that 3-column "I want the background to be bright orange" client from last week :P

#23 AD2

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 10:33 AM

Hi all

I like building up a research/sketch book of roughs, copy writing examples, ideas, colours and webpages created I've created, as I progress so that i can go back to it when I need new inspiration. It's also interesting to see how far I veer away from my original plan or first idea.

A good colour source book for web graphics is 'coloring web graphics' by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, ISDN no 1-56205-669-7. It's got every safe web colour in it you could need and also covers colour combinations , web file formats etc.

AD2

#24 whitemark

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Posted 24 May 2005 - 07:30 PM

Do it everyday.

That really makes sense. Yesterday, I sat down to code a page and got stuck with the CSS because I had got rusty in just a week!

I like building up a research/sketch book of roughs, copy writing examples, ideas, colours and webpages I've created, as I progress so that i can go back to it when I need new inspiration.

What a neat idea! Thanks.

Corrected a BB code error

#25 AbleReach

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 03:52 PM

I like taking workshops, hearing speakers, things like that.

Sometimes people get a different perspective after a vacation or a life crisis. Shaking something loose helps revive a sense of direction. I'm not volunteering for a life crisis, but taking a class can get me out of feeling stuck.

The discipline of daily doing is not a problem for me. The discipline of focus is a little harder - I like (need!) the saying "work smarter, not harder."

The discipline of leaving some breathing room so that ideas have room to move and grow is important. I don't always see that I've booked something for every minute of energy until I try to book something for growth or healthy enjoyment.

BTW, thirstymoose, I adore the Capo d'astro bar story!


Elizabeth

#26 eisenhower

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 05:29 PM

Whenever I experience something like creative block it's usually because I'm trying to satisfy everyone. So, let's say I start writing a story. Creative Block usually kicks in at the point where my inner dialogue is like this:

1: (writing) "I woke up early that day, with every intention of eating a healthy breakfast..."
2: You're starting the story like that? People are going to think it's totally ridiculous.
1: Well, how would you do it?
2: I don't know, make it more cool or something.

And at this point I curl up into a ball and think about something else.

With web design, I'm usually thinking, "let's make this standards-compliant and yet really cool looking, something that *everyone* will enjoy"...and I end up cancelling out all my ideas because they're not perfect enough. I imagine one person poking a hole in it, and *boom*! There goes my creativity.

Of course, what I really need is not success, but experience. Wisdom. And these things are not gained by being perfect from the outset. Making dumb mistakes is part of growing, part of learning what it means to be good at something. I guess when I forget that, I'm doomed to suffer from creative block.

#27 PCarahan

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 11:02 AM

I just start surfing the net, or watching tv, or playing some games, or even going out for a walk. When i get back after a few hours, my mind feels more refreshed and is ready to design.

#28 Massy

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 05:22 PM

I would say take a holiday in your head! Mmm you might say, but however for me, if I get stuck its normally because I'm bored, which is not good for creative inspiration. I would take some time out looking at what inspires me, write some thoughts down to collect, read or doodle and then realise why I am so excited about this project. But hey I can get excited about cardboard boxes or maybe how I can make them exciting, I guess its the challange.

#29 fidget

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 05:21 PM

Me too ..... have a drink, forget about it, wake up with a hangover and a fresh outlook.

Works every time. :)

#30 kensplace

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 08:28 PM

I usually just resign myself and think, maybe it will come back to me in a few years.........

Booze can help - at least to forget what I cant remember in the first place....

Back in the old days, when it was all crystal clear, I used to talk to the photocopier, (or any other inanimate object, nerds and friends dont mix) as explaining the problem would often help, I would see the obvious, but only after talking it through...

Now I Just do the opposite, I wait for something to come along i can do then go for it, a simple problem can hold me back for ages now, which does my head in :) so I try to avoid them

#31 rpm

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 09:04 AM

a few months ago i thought i had a burnout - but it was just convenience and "getting used to it". and maybe itīs the experience that sorts out ideas more quickly and leaves you like not being creative. how to cope with it?

break with usual patterns, use word families, put different topics together, break them, mix them and put them together again. use associations (e.g. what else is cold?), take your personas expectations to find a good metaphor...
surfing never helped me at a lot, most of the time it left me having something in mind thats not quite fitting.



btw:

"just do it" sounds too much of blind activism that provides much more work in the end - not my cup of tea. Iīd rather say: "try to keep distance more often!" everybody knows this, donīt you? youīre going out e.g. for smoking and here it comes!


#32 AbleReach

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 01:42 PM

rpm, welxome! :wave:

You make me think. :-)

Sometimes I get physically ill - queasy - just before making a breakthrough. Is that what you mean by getting used to it?

Smoking has its draw, but the ROI was rotten. About 25 years ago I "just said no." ;-)

Successful surfing around for ideas depends on if I am looking for something that will save me from my stuck-ness, or if I am curious about how others have approached, solved, failed at or avoided the same puzzles.


Elizabeth

#33 Massy

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 05:48 PM

I think for me taking a holiday in your head just means taking a break, so you allow yourself to enjoy what your doing again. I believe inspiration comes from being enthusiastic about what your creating and enjoying what you doing. So if you get stuck, take a look at something that inspires you.

#34 rpm

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 04:09 AM

"getting used to it":
a professor of mine said: "every first idea is a bad one, cos eyeryone will have it. try something that attracts, restart thinking!"
but if youīre working, there often is no time and you automatically get used to visualize klischees. you tend to go on like this, cos it makes life so much easier... and maybe sometimes you will find all of your projects look similar. you got used to the way agencies work, you have a certain imagination of how a project has to look like in advance and so on. thatīs what i meant

to avoid the creative block, i often start with the brand values / product values, add adjectives that fit to them, pick the most important ones and try to find an ideal metaphor to transport the right message. once i have a metaphor, itīs much easier, the style, the colors etc follow.
the good thing: the adjectives are inspiring but not in a visual way. and i canīt be so wrong, cos they are directly representing the product / the brand or whatever.

#35 usability_guy

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 03:12 AM

Hi
I dont know when this query was posted.
Getting Ideas, My way is you need a little silence.
Do meditation for some time (that way it works for me)
Just closing my eyes for around 15 minutes and thinking of stars in the sky.
"If there is a sense then it has to come from silence"
Anyway Thx!


Rams

#36 whitemark

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 03:36 AM

Notes on Making Art

I've been influenced by Julia Cameron's "Artist's Way" and also Philip Sylvester at the Drawing Studio -- but I feel like I'm really beginning to get a grip of my own on the creative process and wanted to take some quick notes.

1. Quality through quantity. Don't get hung up on making this one piece good -- make ten and one will certainly be pretty good.

2. Do NOT mix generating and editing. When you're making a piece, don't stop and get judgmental half-way through. If it's a piece of crap, get that piece of crap out of your system -- don't try to fix it mid-flow. Finish it, move on.

3. When to judge: After you've completed a piece, look at it and decide what direction you want to go in next. Or if you're selecting pieces for submission to a show, apply your critiquing mind then. Make a piece of art; look at it; make another.

4. Don't be afraid to re-use elements. If each piece has to be unique, then you're going to get hung-up when you create some bit that you like. But if you can re-use bits, then you can keep moving.

5. How to have "lots of ideas": permute. Start anywhere. Once a piece is done, try varying some aspect. Think of all the variables that could have permutations.

6. "Get through your first 50 failures as fast as you can." I don't think that we should be shooting for a place where we no longer make crappy art. A good artist is one who's in motion making lots of art -- you only think they're so much better because they produce so much quantity that their pile of "good art" has also been able to accumulate. For every piece of crap you create, you're one step closer to getting something you really like.

7. Don't even bother "fixing" pieces. Making art shouldn't be a struggle. You're simply "thinking out loud" onto the page, photo-paper, or canvas. If a product seems confused, leave it confused. Make another piece where you contemplate whatever issues you were wrestling with. Try something different. When clarity arrives, it will come in one living piece -- not be Frankensteined together out of a single infinitely re-worked, mangled corpse.

8. Work fast. Creativity is exciting. If you're not judging while you're making, then you can just throw things together as fast as your mind can move. You're smart; if you don't like what you've made, you'll know immediately. You might not know what to do about the problem you perceive... Don't "think", standing there cogitating -- try things. If your hands are in motion, you can be generating new permutations. The one that you want to pick will come out on its own time.

9. Let your level show. Let the world know that despite having years of investment in your art form, you're still a beginner who doesn't know it all. Rather than hide your thought process, let your questions be present in your work. You are a fundamentally more interesting artist if people get to see what it is that you're struggling with, rather than just your final answers. Show your work. Talk about what you still can't understand (unapologetically).

10. Don't hide your failures. If you are only willing to show those perfect pieces that you are aspiring towards, you're never going to display / publish your work. Show everything, the worst of the crap included, and let your ego be humbled -- and goaded to create more.

Author: scarlet star studios blog, (cc) Some Rights Reserved.
(I am not the original author of this article. Reproduced here under the creatives commons license.)

[Highlighted author attribution]

#37 Scratch

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 04:58 AM

Very well put, whitemark. Echoes my process as well (see Think-then-do).

The discipine of keeping going is very important. That's one of the things that differentiates professionals from lucky hobbyists is the ability to produce good-quality stuff even when the creative muse isn't with you. I think the other vital thing there is to understand the theory and basic principles of your art, whatever that is. That comes through learning and training (practice).

Another vital skill is knowing when to stop. Do you go for 100% or 90%? I think that 100% usually takes 3x more work than 90%. And the benefit isn't that much greater.

One of my favourite quotes: "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

#38 AbleReach

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 06:57 PM

Seen on T-shirt: perfectionism is paralysis.

1. Quality through quantity. Don't get hung up on making this one piece good -- make ten and one will certainly be pretty good.  

2. Do NOT mix generating and editing. When you're making a piece, don't stop and get judgmental half-way through. If it's a piece of crap, get that piece of crap out of your system -- don't try to fix it mid-flow. Finish it, move on.

I LIKE these two.

I had an art teacher who said that everyone has 100 bad drawings inside, and you have to work your way through them before getting to the good stuff. In the meantime discernment, confidence and skills are improving, and brain and body actually grow neural net in response to the workout.

Don't worry. Instead, create and work your way through that milestone 100. Leave self-flagellation under a rock where it belongs.


Elizabeth

#39 whitemark

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 12:31 PM

Just to clear any misconception, I am not the author of the article 'Notes on making art'.

Nice article, scratch. Definitely with you on that one, Elizabeth - perfection can be really crippling.

#40 whitemark

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 11:08 PM

"We're all inspired by the work we see, and sometimes that inspiration shows through a little, and sometimes too much. A technique we've been using for a while .. is to screen capture just a small visual cue that we appreciate and save it to a folder. You'll have inspiration without the influence."

+ Source: Capturing Design Inspiration





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