I've got an email from a reader of this blog with a common problem... how to get creativity started:
I am into graphic design, working as a finalizer for the last 10 years. I'm working in an Advertising Agency, I want to become an art director. I look at the ads on Ads of the world and get inspired. I found them very easy but when I'm trying to do something my mind doesn't open. Is there any exercise where i can learn and fullfull my dream of becoming an art director.
Being creative is one part of being an art director - and for sure the most fun part. As you can see from the blog there are other activities (organizing, planning, guidance to people) involved in real art direction. But as for creativity there are now really good resources and tools.
1) The word Creativity is a misconception
In advertising and design you mostly don't "create" but you "combine in a new and interesting way" - Don't get fooled by the word creativity - you don't have to reinvent the wheel, just use the wheel in a new way. To read more about this - here is an extensive lesson about "Creativity on demand"
For example: A friend of mine "stitched" his book on fabric instead of printing it on paper.
2) Use the tools the right way
So many people think that they know how to brain storm - but they don't. There are many creativity tools like leathering, brain storming, fishing etc. - but if you don't use them correctly you will not get results. I covered brain storming in this blog post - so read this and storm on.
3) Creativity comes from having many interests
One of the best ways to "open" your mind to creative ideas ist by having a "open" mind all the time. Don't just be interested in graphic design. I'm interested practically in everything (except passive sports = watching someone else doing sport). I want to know how the people lived 100 years ago in Siberia. I cook, hike, bike, run, go to museums about just everything. I listen to podcasts during work about the most desperate themes and from around the world. You don't have to remember everything but sometimes there are things that remain in your mind. And by taking this things from around the world into a new context you are really creative.
An example: It's quite usual here to collect stickers of soccer player for kids in Europe... everyone did this - I used the same principle for a firm. They made stickers from their employees and an album. Who finished the collection has received a price. And the benefit for the firm? All employees have finished the album and in the end everyone knew anyone in every department.
4) Creativity is Teamwork
The image of the lonely creative mind is still present in the minds of everyone. But actually the best creative ideas come from teams - small teams to be exact. Only by interacting and discussing your ideas you have the possibility to expand them and to iterate on them. A modern system for creative temawork is featured in my blog post on this site here.
5) Books and Cards that help
Here is a collection of books and Cards that can help you