Seeing the big picture – the creativity hack you often overlook…

Growing up, I lived in the countryside – which meant I was used to country roads and the pace that life moved at.

So, when I started driving, I was a little nervous about motorways and dual carriageways.

“Why?” asked my driving instructor, “if anything it’s easier. The more you can see of the road ahead, the more you can be ready for”.

And he’s right.

It’s like that with creativity.

The more you can see of the big picture, the easier it is to plan.

But I go one step further than this, I take it literally.

So I bought an A3 drawing pad. A nice big space for me to draft out and plan what I do.

It works.

Too often I see people writing on their phones.

Sure that’s okay for a Tinder message or a Whatsapp. But if you’re crafting sentences, writing paragraphs it’s better to see the whole page.

The bigger picture. It’s good.

Art.

I’ve never been one for art.

In fact, I could probably count the amount of art galleries I’ve visited on one hand.

Am I uncultured? Probably.

Am I a heathen? Possibly.

I feel that, as a creative, I should probably rectify this – I’ve always had an eye for design, but have never let it flourish – preferring to spend my creative time around words.

So, as I’ve completely changed my surroundings recently, I’ve decided to surround my new room with some art.

Not too much.

But just enough.

A couple of images that will make me think. Because, that’s what good art should do.

The first one is Picasso’s ‘3 musicians’ (which you can see above) – and not just because it was cheap in a Cyber Monday sale…

Ahem.

Just because the things I create centre around paragraphs, full stops and hyphens – it doesn’t mean I can’t be inspired by something else.

Perhaps I should visit a few art galleries when I have some free time. I can see a new series of blog posts beginning – ‘Understanding Art: An Idiot’s Guide’.

Watch this space.

(image credit: wikipedia)

How kitchen roll taught me that creativity can be simple

Some 20 years ago, my first school was one of many schools that were entered into a competition.

It was run by one of the big kitchen roll companies – I can’t recall which one. 

Basically they wanted us to do a special design for some limited edition packaging.

Yep, instead of using a design firm they decided to skip costs and get eager kids to do it…

Being a creative nipper I was excited by this. But, back then, creativity to me meant that you had to try and be as far outside of the box as possible.

I didn’t think practically or subtly. And so my design looked like it had been put together by Andy Warhol after an acid flashback.

In terms of the client brief and brand it didn’t fit.

And, of course, I didn’t win.

But my best friend did. He had come up with a fairly simplistic (yet polished) design and they lapped it up.

I jealously watched as he won a shedload of plaudits and even nailed a newspaper interview.

Nowadays he channels that skill as a design engineer.

And, after learning a lot, I eventually got a break as a copywriter.

There’s a lesson here for us all. Creativity is about connecting things and sticking true to what your client or your audience will respond to and want.

There’s no such thing as simple. Not really, anyway. It’s just about having a good idea. Whether that idea is plain and conservative, or rainbow coloured – it’s about what fits.

That’s what creativity is. It can be simple. It just needs to fit the purpose.

(Photo credit: Daily Express)

Judging books by their covers?

I liked this TED talk, so I thought you might want to see it.

The guy’s called Chipp Kidd and he designs book front covers for a living.

How’s about that for a profession?

I wonder how many times he’s heard the old ‘can’t judge a book by its cover’ line?

Anyway, while I mostly talk about writing I like to learn about design too. And, this raises some interesting points about first impressions.

P.S TED stays for technology, entertainment and design. Who knew it?!