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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.


How To Boost Your Creativity

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Boost Your Creativity

I have previously written an article on how to be creative however, it didn’t tell you how to boost your creativity.

Below are some great ways of stimulating your brain to get great ideas – fast.

Change Your Environment

Decorate a wall with old product packages, put up king size posters of your favourite designers, rip out pages of a colour catalogue and pin them up, find music that inspires you, create interesting lighting by sticking distorted paper in front of the lamps and – if you own the place – redecorate in an inspiring manner. Alternatively, cover the walls with paper and let yourself go with paints and brushes. It is a fact that decorating a work environment with flowers increases the generation of new ideas by 15% (Roger Ulrich, Ph.D., Behavioural Scientist, Texas A&M University, 2004).

Why, Why, Why Technique

Why Why WhyAsk ‘Why?’ several times until you explore undiscovered parts of the problem you’re working on. You’re creating an advertisement. Why are you creating an advertisement? Because they need one. Why do they need one? Because they’ve got this interesting product to show off. What makes the product interesting? It glows in the dark. Why does it glow in the dark? Because (:). Suddenly, you’ll find yourself with more information to spin around.

Use Different Mediums

Got process colours? Go mix them and paint something. Draw something. Take whatever ideas you’ve got, redraw them by hand, and see if they turn out different. If possible, cut it into pieces and put it together another way.

Write Your Own Brief

Write your own brief, and include as much information as possible. Try to define the problem clearly. If you’ve got one from a client, rewrite it in your own words.

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

  1. White – State the facts and figures
  2. Red – State the emotions.
  3. Black – State the negatives. Use judgment and caution.
  4. Yellow – State the positives.
  5. Green – Ideas that come by seeing things in a new light. Suggest alternatives, proposals, provocations.
  6. Blue – Sum up what has been learned. It controls the debate. To see it in action.

To see it in action.

What if? Technique

If you’re stuck half-way in a design, let your mind wander. What if this was seen mirrored? What if these two switched positions? What if I inverted the whole thing? You could also go further by making stories and creating characters. What if this illustration could come over and give its opinion? Sounds too much like an acid trip for me, but some people have success with it. What if it was (put in whatever adjective you can think of)?

Use mind maps

Brainstorm, preferably with a partner, and draw a mind map. There is nothing that is as effective as mind mapping, as it has a tendency to grow and grow as you explore the topic. This can of course be combined with other techniques. Mindomo is a great web based app. Freemind is another good alternative, written in Java.

Don’t be critical

You can’t both be creative and critically judging at the same time. These are two difference processes that should take place in two different phases of the process. Write down everything, no matter how badly you’re trying to tell yourself it sucks. Get it down. There are no bad ideas, just bad decisions.

Criticism belongs later in the design process, when you’ve got so many ideas and concepts that you can begin being selective.

Osborn’s Checklist

Apply the following check list and see if it generates any new ideas or perspectives. Try to avoid being held back by assumptions of how things should be done.

Put to other uses? As it is? If modified?
Adapt? Is there anything else like this? What does this tell you? Is the past comparable?
Modify? Give it a new angle? Alter the colour, sound, odour, meaning, motion, and shape?
Magnify? Can anything be added, time, frequency, height, length, strength? Can it be duplicated, multiplied or exaggerated?
Minify? Can anything be taken away? Made smaller? Lowered? Shortened? Lightened? Omitted? Broken up?
Substitute? Different ingredients used? Other material? Other processes? Other place? Other approach? Other tone of voice? Someone else?
Rearrange? Swap components? Alter the pattern, sequence or layout? Change the pace or schedule? Transpose cause and effect?
Reverse? Opposites? Backwards? Reverse roles? Change shoes? Turn tables? Turn other cheek? Transpose ‘+/-’?
Combine? Combine units, purposes, appeals or ideas? A blend, alloy, or an ensemble?

Force associations and connections

Pick a random word from a dictionary, a magazine, a website or wherever, and try to force connections between the word and the problem you’re solving. This could and should be combined with mind mapping and sketching.

For further creative techniques visit MyCoted.

What other methods do you use to get ideas fast?

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