The following article by Mark Busse was published on October 7, 2013 in Design Edge Canada Magazine.
Boom. I hit the wall. I couldn’t think of a single idea for this month’s post. I was blocked. I had nothing.
I hate feeling stuck or uninspired. But it’s in those times that years as a designer comes in handy as I muster the strength and focus to keep moving. To crack on.
It’s an interesting thought really, to consider that although the craft of graphic design and the skills in using the ever-more-complicated tools of this trade are crucial, what we really get paid for is creativity.
We are uniquely able to endure the anxiety that comes along with not knowing and not merely jumping to the easy conclusion or assumption.
In fact, this special “mojo” we possess is that which our clients most envy and pay us handsomely for. But what is creativity?
How does one go about ideation—especially when your mind has gone blank (God, that’s a horrible feeling).
When working with my clients I often find it’s easier to establish what they are NOT as a way of defining what they ARE. Sort of a negative approach I guess.I do know that creativity is NOT a talent. For communication designers, creativity is NOT the process we were taught.
Creativity is NOT the tools we use. It’s a frame of mind. It’s a philosophy. It is a way of operating.
Experts have been studying creativity for years and the consensus is that highly creative people are those who’ve mastered the ability to put themselves in a particular mood or circumstance and tolerate the anxiety of struggling to find a way forward. These are people who are willing to put themselves out there, to engage in play, to be unafraid of the judgement of others, and just get on with it.
Creative people posses the ability to play with divergent ideas and allow them to converge, and lead us to better ideas and solutions. I am a big Monty Python fan, and I love the commencement speech John Cleese gave years ago about his secrets for a creative life. In his talk he discussed how there really are only two modes of thinking: closed and open.
At first I wrote a bunch of gibberish and had a laugh at myself, but eventually I realized the solution was right in front me: the very struggle I was having and the way I was approaching it was precisely what I should share with you this month.
After that the words poured out in a continuous flow. I completed two month’s worth of work in 20 minutes.
How do you tackle creative problem solving when you’re drawing a blank? Add your tips and suggestions in the comments below.