Monday, June 4, 2012

Creative Genius.....or Utter Madness?

A look into the creative mind of Kalico Design's junior designer, Jen Tyler...

When it comes to the creative process we all have our different ways of going about getting the solution. I’m always looking at different solutions for creative problem solving. This helps me to understand why sometimes it’s so easy to come up with profound and simple solutions to creative problems, and other times I might as well be banging my head against a wall. Do we all share some kind of common method? Are there key points to our madness?

I recently came across a book titled The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising's Big Ideas Are Born it includes the personal illustrations of design processes for many famous designers. In the beginning of the book the authors mention a man named Graham Wallas who proposed one of the first creative process models in 1926. It is as follows:

Stage 1. Preparation: The problem to be solved is carefully considered and resources are gathered in order to confront the task. The conscious mind is focused on the problem.
Stage 2. Incubation: Drawing upon these resources, consideration of the problem is internalized and becomes a largely subconscious activity. The mind makes connections more freely and abundantly.
Stage 3. Illumination: Possible solutions to the problem transition from subconscious to conscious thought. This is a moment of insight and optimism.
Stage 4. Verification: Solutions are tested and may be applied if shown to be viable.

My creative process model follows this with slight variations.

Stage 1. Preparation:
Read project brief. Immediately start brainstorming. Word association. How could letters merge and make shapes. Picture a rainbow. Stare into space. Freak out because I’m not in school anymore and don’t have two weeks to sketch one comp for a client!
Stage 2. Incubation:
Put the project out of my mind. (Or try to.) Go home. Watch TV. No, those commercials are not some kind of magical insight into this particular clients problem. No, not everything has a deeper meaning just because you want it to. Try to focus on the project before going to sleep. Maybe dream about the solution.
Stage 3. Illumination:
Wake up. Didn’t have an epiphanic dream? OK, now its crunch time. Back to step one. That sketch still looks the same as when I started – I can do better than that! More sketching. Lets clean it up with our mad computer skills. Apply color theory.
Stage 4. Verification: 
“Presto Chango!” Finally! Give self a hand. Beer anyone!

What is your creative process? We'd love to hear!

(Image courtesy of central)

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