Have you ever started a project and just fell into a funk? Lost the innovative mindset you had while working on a project and are just afraid you’ll never get it back? There is an answer and its simple. When diving into any task you are in the process of creation, whether it is painting a masterpiece or creating a spreadsheet for your boss. You rely on your senses to “guide” you through the process, and your mastery of the skill gets better through practice. One thing i’ve come to hold dear to my creative process is Inspiration.
dictionary.com‘s first post on the meaning of inspiration is as follows. (a few meanings removed)
||an inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
||something inspired, as an idea.
||a result of inspired activity.
||a thing or person that inspires.
||the act of inspiring; quality or state of being inspired.
||the drawing of air into the lungs; inhalation.
Lets break this down a bit and get a handle on true inspiration.
an inspiring or animating action or influence:
The keyword here is influence. Think of your project at hand and find sources that would influence you based on what your final outcome is intended to be. For instance, I’m currently working on a logo project for a jeans company calledRetro Jeans. I needed some kind of influence to kick-start me in the right direction so i went and sought out competitors of the client. I also dove into the true meaning of retro, and i decided to listen to some music that I considered “retro” (George Clinton, Parliment, James Brown, Rick James, some Bossanova, and New Jazz) though its not my favorite, it set the mood for designing for this client. Pandora Radio is a great way to find music pertaining to your influential phrase or idea. Now through the images from their competitors, the meaning behind the word and the music i had pumping into my headphones i believe i came up with a good design (i’d like to share it with you, but since the project is still in progress, i’ll wait till the client is 100% satisfied before posting the final result).
something inspired, as an idea:
This goes back to the last paragraph. I used the word retro as my “something inspired” and pulled from it the meanings behind it that i would incorporate into this design. You can use anything that incorporates the basic “idea” into your inspirational gathering. One of my favorite tactics on gathering what the client needs is using their own personal favorites in color, music and food. The first time i asked a client what their favorite food was i got a look of “OMG AR YOU CRAZY!!” but after i explained why i was asking, they were willing to give it to me. The project was completed in about 1/2 the time as normal because i was catering to the clients creative mind. Using this technique you can draw out a mood and sense of what they will be looking for in the final project.
a thing or person that inspires:
Pouring a bit of influence from a person or thing into your bucket of inspiration is a very effective technique. I did both on the Retro Jeans project i was working on. First of all when i though about jeans, what was the first name that popped into my head? Calvin Klein? Levis? Well i went and put on my most comfy pair of Levis and sat there staring at them for about 5 minutes brainstorming the emotions incorporated with wearing a pair of nice jeans. Comfort, Style, Fun, Durability, Relaxation.. all these words popped into my head. I wrote each adjective down as I sat there admiring my Casual Friday. In essence, the physicality of or knowledge from someone or something closely tied to the project at hand gives the inspiration a jump in the right direction.
the act of inspiring; quality or state of being inspired:
Think back on someone you have inspired through your actions or words. Your influence on someone else is a great lesson for getting over that creative funk. If you put yourself in the mentor role, what advice would you give to a friend or colleague to get out of their current funk? Have you ever finished giving advice and said “now if i could only follow my own advice” well, YOU CAN! This is a very important part of inspiration is knowing you are your best source for it. You know how your mind works better than anyone else and can draw on your own experiences of how you’ve inspired to set yourself up for success. I’ve been working closely with a friend on her introduction into photo-shopping and showing her techniques and such. One thing that she keeps running into are walls of frustration in not getting the outcome she desired. Of course this will come to her over time with a bit of practice in techniques and such. My advice to her when she would hit these “walls” would be to back away from the project completely and pick it up once her mind wasn’t focusing on the frustration. It seemed to work well for her and hearing the elation in her voice after some time had passed on how proud she was of the outcome of her projects gave me a bit of pride knowing that it worked. “now if i could only follow my own advice” *grin*
the drawing of air into the lungs; inhalation:
NOW That is some great advice for inspiration. BREATH!! the act of breathing is neglected more than we care to realize, especially sitting at our desks and working on a project for hours on end. Breathing increases blood flow to the brain which in turn increases awareness and creativity. So in conclusion just breath and reflect a moment. Inspiration comes in many forms, and your techniques for deriving an inspirational bucket to carry with you to your project will be full in no time.
Use your senses, All of them! Music, Art, Quotes, but most importantly use your own personal inspiration you’ve given to others. Oh and don’t forget to breath.
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