For those going into a creative field, it can feel like you’re constantly expected to have a revolutionary idea that sets your work apart from the rest. This can be a lot of pressure to someone starting out, and possibly even cause you to doubt your ability to get started. Some words I hear frequently during creative requests are “unique”, “different”, “bold”, or “eye-catching”. It seems like every project, I ask myself the same question: “How do I find a big, bold idea that is different from the rest?”
Through the work I’ve done in classes and internships, I have found a few ways to keep an open-mind and initiate creative thinking.
To create a final project that you love, you have to love the process. Passion projects are a great way to practice creative thinking without the pressure of opinions and deadlines. Play around with different software, draw, take pictures, or come up with a marketing idea for fun. This could even spark some ideas that can be used in your work.
Live Your Life and Be Observant
The best ideas are taken from real-life situations. If you are able to relate to your audience, you will better understand what they want to see. Go out and create new experiences, and take note of how you feel, what you see, and what you love.
Look for Inspiration Outside of the Obvious
If you want to create something different from the competition, pull inspiration from unexpected places. At my graphic design internship for college athletics, I started out looking at what other schools created to promote their teams. The best advice I received was to look at other media like movie posters, gaming design, or even digital art to expand my idea of what a graphic could look like.
Have Bad Ideas
Write down or discuss every idea you have, even if you don’t think it will be the winner. There have been multiple times that I’ve come up with an idea that I didn’t think was the best, but it sparked another conversation and another idea that led to the final product.
The more you practice creative thinking, the easier it becomes. Utilize your experiences and surroundings in your work and be confident in your ideas!