Polishing Your Creative Process
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - Joe Kiedinger
You’ve made it. You are now a designer. Whether you are a graduate of a top design program or a self-taught designer, if you are working in the field of design, you’ve made it! Congratulations, the design world is both exhilarating and demanding.
So as a designer, you’ve been trusted with the best thing a designer can have, a project! Ah, the beginning of a project. That moment of excitement where anything is possible, the canvas is blank, and you’ve got all the time in the… wait…you need this tomorrow?!
Okay, this is when the panic sets in. If you are anything like me, your mind races. You start wondering how you will provide the amazing design you started to conceive with such a short deadline. This is the crucial moment where you will decide to continue working in a panic or to slow down and follow your creative process.
In my experience, I have found that if you don’t shortcut your creative process, you will be able to deliver fantastic results to your client every time. Once you find what works for you, stick with it, but don’t be inflexible. Your creative process should be an ever evolving beast that you will continue to tame throughout your career as a designer.
Everyone will have their own approach to a project, but I have found a few key elements that I am LOST without as I go through mine.
- First off, I have found immense value in having a calm mind. This is crucial for me. With a calm mind, there is nothing blocking that “creative magic” from working its way into your project. (Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert is a fantastic book about that magic that comes into your work when you are open to it! Check it out!
- Another necessity for me is to commit to a solid brainstorm session. For me, this varies from project to project. Sometimes it might be in the form of a group brainstorm followed by taking pencil to paper through sketching. Other times, it’s simply searching for inspiration from things that have already been done, and that have succeeded. These findings then work their way into an inspiration board.
- Depending on the size of the project, this board can be sent off the client, so they can get a sneak peek into your mind, and are able sign off on the general direction of their project. This gives them both peace of mind that you are taking time to do their project right, and anticipation, as they are allowed a sneak peek into the creation of their project. Inspiration boards then become mood boards. Mood boards are invaluable to ensure consistency for your project. These become the rules that define the project and anything that stems from it.
- Lastly, my creative process must include having an open mind. Many projects take on a life of their own once you begin creating them. They may surprise you, and you have to be open in order for that to happen. You also have to be able to take constructive criticism. If you are working as a part of a team, those other team members are there to ensure your success. Value their input, find ways to improve your project and if you get stuck, rely on those members to help you get it right.
Always remember. Just as the design world is an ever evolving and ever changing. So too should your design process be. Keep searching until you find what suits you best. And don’t be afraid to alter it as soon as you feel you’ve gotten stale. There is a good chance, as a designer, you have passion for what you do. When you match that passion with a process, you will become unstoppable.