How many myths do you embrace about creativity? Do you believe that only artists are creative? Do you think you have to be weird to be creative?
If creativity alludes you, stick with me as we explore the essence of creativity, the process, and the 4 stages of creativity highlighted with my personal philosophies. Once you learn these methods –you’ll only be a step away from that Genius spark.
A while ago, I was asked why it was important to share my creative process and why am I not afraid to do so. I thought about a couple of responses, but then realized that those responses could be seen as flippant if I didn’t take the time to explain myself. So, let’s start with…
What is Creativity?
Creativity isn’t about alchemy, Creativity is a process.
Many people shutter at the thought of thinking themselves creative. I’ve decided to dispel the myth by breaking down the allusive components of creativity. Creativity is just as intrinsic as eating, breathing, and procreating. I can hear you now: “Oh, I’m not creative!” And to that I passionately reply,
“Yes you are!”
Creativity is innate, otherwise as a higher level species, we wouldn’t be here today.
So, let me say that again… Creativity isn’t alchemy, Creativity is a process.
Process of Creativity
For all of you who feel you missed the boat on creativity, there’s another one on it’s way! With every process there’s a if/then clause. Replacing the perceived alchemy of creativity with process doesn’t seem so scary, does it? The ability to reduce the process of creativity into bitesized tasks takes the pressure off me and allows me to check my ego at the door.
Creativity is the ability to continuously make decisions based on patterns and formulate non-sensoring ideas while in the moment. Whether I volley ideas back and forth with Andrew during a project, en route to the grocery store, or over a glass of wine, it’s a brain tickle that needs to be fed.
I encourage my clients to volley ideas back and forth because this fosters excitement for the project at hand and brings a sense of personal contribution. Buy-in at this level prevents the project from getting stagnant and promotes transparency, allowing your partners to boast freely to their friends about their positive experience with you.
My natural curiosity leads me to open myself to other cultures. When I expose myself to a variety of experiences (learning new skills, working with new clients on logo design, visiting museums, travelling to new cities, eating new food, and even checking out tradeshows), I try to remain objective.
Sure, its good to create pattern similarities and it’s more important for to me to shake off any preconceived ideas or inﬂuences that could potentially blur the genuine event. For instance, many cultures include pasta in their dishes and its important to understand the distinction of how its made to why its included.
4 Stages of Creativity Highlighted With My Personal Philosophy:
- Preparation/Investigation – Natural curiosity coupled with the importance of research helps in me this stage. This includes initial Google Searches on keywords, tap an expert or two in the field, learning about the history in Wikipedia, museums, or simply taking field trips. This preventing creating in a vacuum -your project will be richer for it.
- Design/Illustrate – Applying different perspectives (ant’s eye view, birds’ eye view, underwater, straight on), color, deﬁning purpose, all provide me the fundamentals for exploring opportunities and solutions. Depending on the season, region, or cultural influence and expectations, one perspective may work better than another. However, it goes back to compiling non-sensory ideas to find the best option.
- Incubation/Illumination – Walk away. Take a shower. Play a round of golf. Do something extremely different that exercises a different part of your brain. As soon as I shower, I realize that I’m more concerned about rinsing the soap out of my hair than I am about whether the color blue I’ve chosen for my painting is the right shade. At this point, usually the ‘Aha’ moment hits and I am able to return to adjust the design components to make a better product. I may have to return to step 2:Design and come back to step 3: Incubation several times until I have achieved a point of conﬁdence in the solution. This can take several tries.
- Veriﬁcation /Finalize – This is where the ﬁnal stage of design and output happen for presentation. All of the information I have amassed for this project get the designer’s touch. I must remember that crafting the presentation must be content rich with strong visual aids. Think of how Interior Designers present their idea boards: paint chips, fabric swatches, illustrations, real tokens of inspiration, and objet d’art. You can and should do the same. Your well thought-out presentation should show that you’ve brought the full scope of preparation, design, and incubation to light with respect and integrity. Anything less is meaningless and your customers will know it. There are some things you just can’t fake.
What are your thoughts thus far?
Do you follow these steps in your process? What part is your favorite?
Please share your ideas below, I’d love to hear from you!
PS. There is a woman hiding in the snow leopard painting at the top of this article. Can you find her? Take this link for the hint…
Here’s to Cultivating Your Creative Independence
Up next in the Creative Process Series:
Part 2: Sharing & the Physical Manifestion of Creativity