How To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

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December 7, 2020 design inspiration post jumbotron

As a branding agency we are all about getting creative for our clients. However, sometimes (and it happens to the best of us) it can be hard be creative.

Maybe you are having an off day and just aren’t feeling innovative. Or despite brainstorming and thundering all of your ideas seem sort of similar – just like re-runs of Law & Order. Well if that is the case, this blog post is for you. I surveyed the Urban Influence team on how they get creative, even when they aren’t feeling inspired.

I hope you enjoy these ideas and they give you a little fuel for your creative fire!

Pete Wright – Principal

During the day is when I come up with all my great ideas. I love working with the clients in meetings on big picture strategy. However, I am most creative at night. I use my nights to think through all of the details of implementation.

When I am not feeling creative, though, I will give myself a break and rest for a couple of hours. And then I will go into my office an whiteboard on the window.

Chris Comis – Project Manager

The first thing I have to do step away from the computer and go analog. I dig up an old copy of Wallpaper or Monocle, brew some coffee and go chill. After some pages are dog eared I’ll go back online and get back in the groove.

Chaun Osburn – Art Director

What do I do when I’m not feeling creative? Oh boy, when does that ever happen? Haha, it happens quite a lot, it’s hard to be creative between set hours, but over the years I’ve developed some tricks… 1. Listen to music without words (mainly jazz). That really helps me get a nice rhythm going. 2. Go for a walk, you always see/think of something differently outside (it’s nice to think without being locked into a screen). 3. Know your limitations, what I mean is, know when to stop. That’s also good for budgets. If it’s not working, see number 2, then try again. 🙂

Andrew Saxton – Lead Designer

If I’m feeling really stumped, I’ll go buy a cookie or something sweet and let the sugar do the work. In addition, I’ll usually throw on something I don’t usually listen to, some metal or some classic country music.

Chris Loper – Lead Developer

I have multiple methods for solving problems. If it’s a nice sunny day, going for a walk is inspiring. If it’s a problem I have been unable to solve all day, generally taking a shower at night helps me come up with a solution. Otherwise, I tend to listen to more upbeat music to get me moving. ^_^

Steve Scaff – Head of FrontEnd

If I need design or UI inspiration: I take a run through inspiration and award sites – SiteInspire.comAwwwards.comCSSDA.comTheBestDesigns.comDribbble, etc. Or design sites like Good.is.

If I can’t figure a dev issue: I check stackoverflowSmashing MagazineCSS TricksA List Apart, or personal blogs of other devs I respect.

If I’m trying to work out a solution in my head, I go for a walk, go for a coffee, chain smoke, take to the whiteboard to better visualize the issue, or get input from the team. The last one is a big one – when you work with talented people, you can always learn from them, especially those with different backgrounds/disciplines (like the designers… but keep that on the low yo). It helps to get a different perspective

Kate Stull – Copywriter

When I’m not feeling inspired, I always try to find the easiest things to work on first. This might be writing an outline or copy/pasting research I want to use into a document I can easily reference. If I’m stuck on a writing project, I’ll usually just start writing anything; literally anything. This might be making a bullet point list of topics to cover, or writing one sentence where I already know what I need to say. By getting even a little bit of momentum going by doing the easiest parts first, the rest usually comes along naturally because I’ve already started working (and I can always go back and delete or improve anything I wrote when I wasn’t feeling my most creative).

Max Benoit – Project Coordinator

Anytime I hit a wall with creativity I’ll try to engage in a totally unrelated activity. Other forms of creative expression usually unclog the creative juices, for instance if words are just not meeting the page when I try to write I’ll spend an hour or a day or more exclusively playing music. I also somehow become very creative when I’m frustrated, so if I need a spark I usually try to cook something.

And me?

Well when I am not feeling creative I will do two different things:

1. I talk to other people. Even though I am an introvert I find talking about my thoughts, or being stuck can often get my unstuck and help me find new sources of ideas and inspiration.

2. I will set a timer for 10 minutes and get started. Sometimes the hardest part of a hard problem is getting started. Forcing myself to do just 10 minutes can help get the ball rolling – just searching on google, or picking up a book.

If you have other tips and ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments. Who couldn’t use a little more inspiration? 🙂

Until next time,
Kate

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