As a designer, I have a pretty cool job where I have a hand in making some pretty cool things. But it also means I have to be turned on creatively every day and that is not always easy. So in order to stay inspired or jumpstart creativity, I have a few things I do regularly.
By this I specifically mean the way you work. Always sitting at a desk? Maybe try standing at a counter, or even spread out on the floor. Just getting out of my routine can help me think about ideas in a new way.
Trying new techniques, especially for idea generation, is a good way to come up with things you might not have otherwise. For example, when sketching out ideas for a new logo design, I discovered morphological charts. These are typically used in engineering fields, but it’s essentially a grid where you can work out multiple solutions for one problem or idea. I listed my ideas for directions the logo could take, and then filled in each box in that row with an idea. It helped push me past my initial ideas for each category and I came up with a bigger variety of ideas.
I think this is super important for helping me stay creative. A constant stream of new information gives me unlimited new places to go creatively. One of my favorite topics outside of design for inspiration is science, and my go-to source is usually TED Talks (which is full of way more than science; this site is my constantly updating, inspiration goldmine). My curiosity about that new information takes me in new directions that I frequently can trace in my work.
In addition to filling my head with all sorts of new material, it’s really important for me to keep up to date with what is happening in the design community. I read design blogs every morning and it helps keep me on top of trends, best practices, and new software, in addition to keeping me inspired with all of the great work that is out there. This is a great list to get you started; several of the blogs I read daily are on this list, along with plenty more I need to explore!
My sketchbook is an important part of my process. Not only do I use it during a project to sketch out ideas, but it’s also a great place to document ideas that come up randomly. Maybe I get a great idea while watching this TED Talk about dinosaurs (it’s one of my favorites), but it has nothing to do with anything I’m currently working on. Getting it down on paper in my sketchbook is a great way to save it for later.
And even if it doesn’t work its way into a project in the future, it’s still a great exercise in idea generation. Because, like a lot of things, being creative takes practice to do regularly and well.