How to approach a creative process?

Given the fact that I’m a graphic designer, my daily life is strongly marked by creativity. Most people believe that some people have creativity in their genes and others don’t. This is of course not true – we can all be creative; the only difference is that some of us have learned how to stimulate our creative thinking and gave it a breath of life. The aforementioned process is not a rocket science, but a sequence of steps that lead us to thinking, awaken our brains and enable us to create a unique final product.

How to promote our brain to think creatively?
Let’s start with the basics that are necessary for the creative process:

1. Place
First things first. Before we can start any creative process, we need to feel at home and comfortable. Of course, choosing the premises also depends on how we feel. Personally, I prefer to lock myself in a dark, preferably cold place with as few disturbances as possible from the outside world.

2. Music
The music according to my current feelings is a must. Sometimes, it is just a low volume music in the background, and sometimes I choose something more lively. However, the music that doesn’t fit my current feelings is more a distraction than an encouragement.

3. Inspiration
Each of us searches and finds his or her inspiration elsewhere; musicians are trying out the chords, painters the colours. Designers, however, usually surf the websites such as Dribbble, admiring the work published by others, and those can trigger a new idea in our mind.

When all of the above is taken care of, it’s time to work. I usually take a pencil and a piece of paper, and start sketching. Sometimes, I only sketch the layout of the graphic elements I’m working on, and sometimes something more detailed. This way, a lot of work is already done, which might otherwise appear at the end of the designing. If I would notice that the layout wasn’t the right one in the end, it would usually be too late and would end up at the beginning.

When preparing the graphics, it is always necessary to take into account where it will be located (web, social networks, leaflets, advertising posters…), adapt all the elements accordingly (font size, layouts, colours…) and step into the shoes of the end user who will look at the graphics. That is why I follow the quote of Steve Jobs: „It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.“ Nevertheless, the designers have to make the product attractive, in addition to its usefulness and efficiency.

What about when we hit a creative block?
Each of us has already found ourselves in a situation when staring in the screen with empty thoughts and we have no idea how to proceed. This happens quite often to designers and other creators. It is best not to allow ourselves to reach the point where creativity simply shuts down. But how to react when it happens anyway?

It is possible to overcome a creative block in several ways:
1. Change the place.
Sitting on the same chair, behind the same table, looking at the same four walls every day for eight or more hours is not exactly the best thing for our creativity and productivity. That is why we have to change our workplace. Recently, I did it myself, and new ideas began to burst immediately. If this doesn’t help, we can arrange to work outside the office for a day, take our laptop and a notebook and go to the nearby hill, sit on the bench and let our creativity out again.

2. Have a break.
Everyone needs a break. When doing so, it suits some of us to leave the room for a longer period of time, while others prefer to take many shorter breaks. In any case, it is advisable to change the environment as often as possible.

3. When working, “disconnect” from work for a few minutes and have a break.
I get away from my work about every two hours. I usually walk to the kitchen and admire the landscape around us through the window. It has been proven that short views on nature reduce stress – interesting, right? I sometimes lie down on the couch for five minutes, listen to my favourite music with my eyes closed and clear my mind. It is therefore important to get away from our computer and our work, allowing our thoughts to clear up a bit.

4. Sports.
Going to the gym, a football match with friends, running in nature or just a short walk will make everyone feel better.

Bor Kolar

Designer of Contemporary Visuals

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