10 Tips for Creative Success
If you are in a creative field, then you have most likely at one time or another encountered that dreaded feeling: Creative block. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can make you question the merit of every idea you’ve ever had. However, we can all take comfort in the fact that it strikes even the most talented of creative professionals. Here are ten tips to help you power through the toughest projects and succeed in every creative challenge.
1. Embrace confusion.
Realize that creative haze is normal. Despite our wish to have a clearly defined path that leads us to the Big Idea, realistically that path can often be obscured by a thick cloud of haze. Be patient: you will eventually reach that moment of clarity. You may even be the person who leads everyone out of the smog.
2. Understand your audience.
Ask for a clearly defined target demographic for every assignment. With a more focused goal, you can better tailor your ideas and concepts so that they speak to your intended audience.
3. Ask questions.
Step outside of your office for a walk and talk to people about your product or design problem. You’ll be surprised at how many people are actually willing to stop and chat. Go to a nearby bookstore and browse the aisles for inspiration. Illustrations from a children’s book or even a cooking recipe may ignite the creative flame.
4. Go back to basics.
If you are at a standstill, just start laying elements out in their most elementary form, even if all you’ve got are the title, graphic and a small blurb. Take a step back and see the design problem for what it is. Then make it better. Add to it and eventually you will arrive at the solution.
5. Seek inspiration.
Check out design annuals and awards books for inspiration. After all, those represent the work that’s deemed to be the best in the field. But don’t spend all your time looking at other people’s work. The great ideas are within you—you need to grab a hold of them and make them real.
6. Know when to call it a night.
When you hit a wall, it may be time to go home, get some sleep and come back refreshed. Good ideas that may have seemed great the night before may be revealed as less-than-inspired in the cold light of a new day. By the same token, it’s amazing how the ideas start to flow when you return to work rejuvenated.
7. Listen and learn.
You may fall in love with a concept. It may seem like the idea of a lifetime—but then it gets rejected. Your first instinct might be to fight for it but, before you do, take a step back. It might be well worth the fight but first solve the problem according to the conditions you’ve been given. You might want to bring up the original concept again later, or you may find yourself moving on to something even better.
8. Recognize that they’re not just doodles.
You’ve already got the talent but you have to keep the creativity flowing. The next time you go to a museum or watch a television show, jot down noteworthy pieces or clever scenes. Keep a notebook with you and write down thoughts and ideas that pop up. You never know when the clever bug might bite.
9. Revisit the cutting room floor.
You start designing a few concepts and you end up with a collection of drafts, some good, some bad. Print them out, spread them out on the table and take a closer look at the ideas that you’ve developed. Seeing them laid out this way helps you to compare the pieces and identify the ones that really shine. Let the good ones guide you and you’ll end up with a masterpiece.
10. Take the good and take the bad.
We all enjoy a warm pat on the back but that doesn’t mean we should show our work to everyone in search for approval. Ask a few people whose creative opinions you trust to look at your work. Accept their advice and criticism along with their praise. If they tell you that the idea is not good, they might be right and it might be time to move onto your next idea. Embrace the bad news along with the good.
If you want to get paid for your freelance work
…then access to tools is no longer sufficient. Everyone you compete with has access to a camera, a keyboard, a guitar. Just because you know how to use a piece of software or a device doesn’t mean that there isn’t an amateur who’s willing to do it for free, or an up and comer who’s willing to do it for less.
…then saying “how dare you” is no longer a useful way to cajole the bride away from asking her friend to take pictures at the wedding, or the local non-profit to have a supporter typeset the gala’s flyer or to keep a rock star from inviting volunteers on stage.
…then you ought to find and lead a tribe, build a base of people who want you, and only you, and are willing to pay for it.
…then you need to develop both skills and a reputation for those skills that make it clear to (enough) people that an amateur solution isn’t nearly good enough, because you’re that much better and worth that much more.
…then you should pick yourself and book yourself and publish yourself and stand up and do your work, and do it in a way for which there are no substitutes.
It’s true, if someone wants professional work, then he will need to hire professionals. But it’s also true that as amateurs are happy to do the work that professionals used to charge for, the best (and only) path to getting paid is to redefine the very nature of professional work.
Scarcity is a great thing for those that possess something that’s scarce. But when scarcity goes away, you’ll need more than that.
Ayala Museum Design Talk: Everywhereweshoot ♥
16th April, 2011
A year ago, I was introduced to the amazing photography and styling duo, Ryan Vergara and Garovs Garovillo aka Everywhereweshoot. For them, it is not only about beauty and fashion but capturing the feeling (of the shot) per se. What caught my attention was how their works can easily be classified under pop art but at the same time, they make it look so unique. Their works appeal to me, most of all, since I love color. I have had the great chance to work with them for our magazine’s second cover shoot last January and I tell you, they are two of the most humble people in the industry.
Last Saturday, I attended their design talk held at the Ayala Museum with my friends/colleagues (exponential naks) Pat, Maine and Ecks. Not only did I learn (more) about their…sweet and meek beginnings but I also picked up pieces of advice and inspirational words to live by.
They started in the industry “na walang alam” (without knowledge of anything) and all they wanted to do was to be different from the rest of the photographers and graphic designers in the country. Their inspirations come from people like Andy Warhol, Sagmeister and Terry Richardson and international magazines like Nylon, Fader and Trace which they were only able to buy in book sales as college students.
Every work they did, they thought they’d immediately be famous but turns out that wasn’t the case. They even had this memorable experience wherein they went to a Fully Booked store and inserted their calling cards in about 300 books. They continued to shoot with various concepts in mind with their distinguishable unique style and in time, they landed plenty of jobs (Time, Chalk, Preview Magazine, Ystyle, international graphic design books, collaborations with Mich Dulce, Team Manila, Heima, Inksurge, Puma, Pupil, Up Dharma Down, etc) and have established their name/s in the industry.
Tips for students: Don’t give up and keep on shooting and designing.
Here are a few photos from their exhibit.
Highlight of the day: Getting a picture with An & En Estrada aka Your Evil Twin! <3 I turned into a big, shameless fangirl.
Met Maverick Lacson as well. Lookbook dude is too tall, I looked like a midget beside him! This guy’s got swagga!
Hi babe! My pretty and fasyown friend Ecks is too pretty.
Had such a wonderful, educational time. I advise my fellow artists to attend design talks such as this one in the future. Promise you’ll learn a lot! ‘Til next time!
(Other photos have been discarded because they suck, haha. And I was too shy to approach other people…)
why do you choose cinema 4d?
Because it provides me with the tools and features to achieve my designs in a streamlined and simple way. Maya, which was the first 3D software I learned is more powerful but it is designed so that big studios can distribute the duties among different departments (modeling, texturing, animation, etc.). Cinema 4D is more hands on, created for smaller boutique studios, in which a designer does multiple tasks.
Anonymous Asks: Does good design even exist?
Short answer: Yes, good design exists. There is a lot of amazing and effective design in the world. There just happens to be a lot of shitty designs in the world as well. The issue is how much bad design is there next to good design?
REALLY LONG ANSWER BEHIND THE CUT
Speaking of precure designs: Cure Bright
(i wasn’t even looking for a lead-in to this lol)
I know a couple of people wanted me to do the same criticism with the Bright costume as I did with the Bloom one.
Eh. My comments are the same. I did do some brainstorming on other possible color options…then I forgot about them. THEN I JUST FOUND THE PSD FILE SO HERE IT IS.
And I’m not going to tell yall the various reasons of why white shorts are a bad idea. (my bad tho)
Comments? Suggestions? Constructive criticisms? Leave me an ask or reblog!
Also, here’s another unpopular opinion: I think the recent seasons have the opposite problem.
불온한 디자인론 4. 디자인 꺾기
● 아니 꼭 이런 거 지켜야 되? 앞에서 20포인트로 썼다고, 여기서도 똑같이 하란 법이 있냐고~.
○ 탈칵, 탈칵…
● 여긴 글이 많으니까 17포인트로 가고, 다음 것은 18포인트로 갑시다.
○ 탈칵탈칵, 탈칵탈칵…
● 솔직히 그거 바뀐다고 아무도 모르잖아. 대세에 지장이 없는데 왜들 그리 작은 거에 집착해?
○ 어? 잠깐잠깐잠깐! 멈춰봐!
○ 어! 여기 여기 여기 여기! 맞춤법 틀렸네! 아 진짜!
디자인에서는 포멧이 문법이요 맞춤법입니다.
그걸 어기면, 아나운서가 팔도 사투리로 9시 뉴스하는 격이 되죠.
“아홉 시가 되아씅께 인자 시작허요” 같은 오프닝 멘트.
심할 경우에는 어처구니 없는 비문이 되기도 해요.
“오늘의 저기압은유 날씨의 영향으루 춥것슈.”
뭐 그래도 대~충 알아듣긴 하죠.
매체를 다루는 이는 마땅히 지켜야 할 것이 있습니다.
전문용어로 저널리즘이라고도 하지요.
물론 당신도 같이 지켜주셔야 합니다.
한 배를 탔으니까요.
그걸 꺾으면, 독자는 공황 상태가 됩니다람쥐.
‘불온한 디자인론 1~4’는 ‘지콜론=디자인컬쳐메거진’에 연재하였습니다(2011~2012년).
JD Question: What's changed in Landscape Architecture in the last 5 years? And is it now fostering more or less sustainable outcomes as a result?
Not much has changed for landscape architecture in the last 5 years from the outside, though in terms of sustainability many innovations are now embedded and normalized in practice, resulting in fewer big S sustainability branded projects and more just doing it while doing. A major innovation which would seem to offer sustainable outcomes has been landscape Urbanism, tied as it is into processes and scenarios. However no landscape Urbanism outcomes that manifest the unique potentials of the discourse have been built because LU has become a formal language, not the way of doing it promised to be. This is because the discourse arises from architecture rather than landscape, and so is driven by object rather than systemic modes, even it it claims otherwise. It has failed to engage with political and economic contexts (eg real estate convention) that allow projects w the required connections to develop. In contrast, Germany has produced the most interesting practitioners in terms of sustainable outcomes, even while design outcomes tend toward the invisible, and also exported ambitious and capable academics into most English speaking design schools. The Dutch continue to, if not humbly, then consistently, to deliver innovative and odd landscape projects that participate equally w architects in the design economy. While landscape has boomed in design discourse in the last 5 years, this is largely because architects are.stomping around in our discipline. It is still only West 8, and perhaps Vogt, that have forcefully inserted landscape architecture into the project milieu, without being simply good little consultants.
does good design even exist?
Yes, good design exists. there is a lot of amazing and effective design in the world. There just happens to be a lot of shitty designs in the world as well. The issue is how much bad design is there next to good design?
Good design, by the way, doesn’t mean it lacks gradients or papyrus. Good design means a message is somehow communicated through the branding overall. Like, this is going to sound like beating a dead horse but Apple has AMAZING design. Their branding is so effectively done from just the words to the image that you instantly know. Every one of their products incorporates the same voice and ideals, that’s fucking great. That’s AMAZING design techniques.
I think Target does a good job of using red/white in a world filled with red/black/white. A lot of companies like Gamestop use that design and it’s just OK (more on that later). Target has issues but I love their approach in a way. They just have really cluttered catalogs but really nice ads. It’s weird. A lot of department stores end up doing that, but compare Target to Wal-Mart and you’ll see a considerable difference in care to look. Wal-Mart always feels lazy to me. Besides the issue with the company itself it feels, it always feels despair inducing in a wal-mart. Like I said, Target has it’s issues but their branding is spot on in a way.
My third example of good design is Fresh and Easy. Inside and out a Fresh and Easy has clean, simple, beautiful design imo. They keep a consistent brand, their ads actually have a nice combination of typefaces and everything feels spaced. Not to mention Fresh and Easy really aesthetically keeps in mind how to arrange their PRODUCTS. Design is beyond keeping the shapes and colors the same, they care about every little bit it’s great. I really fucking love their approach.
There’s a shittone of bad design, I wont deny that. There’s SO MUCH bad design in the world, but that’s why we need more good design. People need to recognize there is a lot of BAD design. Not just opinion bad but just plain across the board BAD. Bad design goes beyond using comic sans and gradients. Again, design is about communicating a message and taking care of how you communicate that message.
Graphic design is giving an idea an image.
If you give something a bad face people will not understand. If you say something is a face but you are in fact pointing at a butt, congrats you failed at communicating a face. Not only that but design should consider the concept and tone of a company and figure out “how can I say that but differently?” Graphic designers are problem solvers. When a problem is solved badly there is only more confusion in the end. Trying to say too much or using clip art, is bad problem solving. You are just giving something an image that ANYONE can use. Thus it is bad. If you use basic gradients, you are just trying to add design masturbation to something.
That’s why we see a lot of bad design though, a lot of people think they can do graphic design when in fact, no you cannot. It is not something ANYONE can do. It’s the OPPOSITE of that. You have to learn what it is that communicates a thought, you also have to learn how to filter all that shit. Since everyone with photoshop thinks “YEAH I’M A DESIGNER” and is a tremendous idiot for thinking that, there’s a lot of people who have not learned how to filter their own thoughts.
A lot of people pretending or a lot of people thinking they can spend only 10 bucks for a fill in the blanks/template design is why there is a lot of bad design. All of that “oh i know someone with photoshop” is why people end up with shitty logos.
That being said there is also a lot of OK design in the world. Good design is keeping an idea consistennt. Earlier I said Gamestop, I put gamestop here because well it does it’s job. You see games, you see game references, but it’s just black/red/white and that’s a very BLAND and PREDICTABLE color choice for trying to attract the male audience they aim for. Their design also goes all over the place, I know I worked there and went “wow this is nice design too bad it’ll change next week.” It sounds weird but like, they use to do really out of the blue holiday designs. They got better about having a consistent brand but it’s all so predictable? Their designs are just, eh. ALL CAPS LOOK AT US GAMING IT’S SERIOUS COOL. It’s BLAH. It’s OK. Kind of boring, kind of does something different?
OK design is what we see a lot of the time, OK design normally becomes WHY DID THEY DO THAT design.
There’s also the issue of trends and all that. It’s just, there’s a lot of good design. We just see the bad shit more. Coke has good design, pepsi has consistent design but they keep fucking up little shit. Pepsi is so close to having good design all the time I just wanna shake them and be like “LOOK AT SIERRA MIST YOU DID THAT RIGHT.”
This is going to sound bad but beer is my favourite. Alcohol is filled with some of the best and worst design. I can’t accurately describe it, walk through a BevMo or a good liquor store or even just the alcohol isle and you’ll see it. You’ll see the beer’s that have wicked interesting design and then the Budweiser and Tecate. You’ll see bad design then something like Grey Goose comes along and GREY GOOSE HAS THEIR SHIT DOWN. Vodka, man just look at vodka. Some of the worst vodka has some of the most interesting design. And it works, I’ve totally bought shitty vodka because I was like “wow this design is cool.” And then Stoli has this OK but really works for them because it’s so traditional and boss at the same time design and i fucking LOVE stoli. It’s just, it’s weird.
TLDR; Yes, there’s good design. You guys just keep looking at the shit while I laugh at it. Looking at bad design is important to recognizing good design.
불온한 디자인론 2. don't be evil!!!
이 땅의 모든 능력자님~ 사악하지 마셔요.
지식, 도구, 기술의 힘을 가진 분, 예를 들자면 이런 분들,
제발 사악하지 마셔요.
- 총 잘쏘는 스나이퍼님, 알바로 저격하지 마시구여,
- 재개발 잘하는 사장님, 용역주지 마시구여,
- 사시미 잘뜨는 주방장님, 담그지 마시구여,
- 법전 다 외는 판사님, 의역하지 마시구여,
- 마취 잘하는 의사님, 외로움 타지 마시구여,
- 쎈쓰 개쩌는 디자이너님, 4대강 홍보하지 마셔요~.
어느 영화 속 킬러는 여자와 노약자는 건드리지 않더라. 요즘은 그 알량한 직업 윤리, 유치 찬란한 ‘최소한의 양심’ 조차 귀한 시대다. 돈만 많이 주면 부패 기업, 비윤리적 기업의 일도 마다 않는 사람들. 그런 포트폴리오가 인정받는 행태에 문제를 제기하는 것 조차 지나친 순결주의로 치부되는 이 세상은 초등학교 때 선생님께 배웠던 것과는 사뭇 다르다.
하나씩만이라도 만들어보자. 나만의 알량한 직업 윤리를. 예를 들어…
“탈세한 기업이 의뢰한 일은 분기별로 단 한 번씩만 해준다”. 라던가,
“나를 속인 거래처의 전화는 하루에 단 한 번씩만 받아준다.” 라던가. ㅎ
‘불온한 디자인론’은 ‘지콜론=디자인컬쳐메거진’에 연재하고 있습니다.