A Thousand Words to Find the Perfect One

Creativity is a muscle.

Everyone has it. Some personalities are driven to pump it up, while others are in denial that a creative anatomy exists within. The key to developing this elusive muscle is simple: practice.

The Process

From marketing and design to scientific research, the world depends on people who will reference their knowledge base and conceive the revolutionary. A design professor of mine often had us aspiring art directors complete creativity exercises to warm up our brains. I still use these principles when developing concepts, copy and designs.

1- Start with comfortable

Pick your brain for everything that makes sense to achieve your goal. What fits your client? What does your audience expect? One idea may branch into another, then another, then another. If you’re afraid of being groundbreaking or making a real difference, stop reading; use this step. Otherwise, compile everything you can think of so you can later eliminate the cliche and sucked-dry-and-withered ideas.

2- Go to Pluto

Remove your filter; this is where there are no bad ideas. Reach for the stars and then set your sights out further. Dream up the odd, awkward, and absurd, then write everything down. We have a tendancy to get stuck on Step 1. We think within the paramaters we are given. We strive to please customers and clients without realizing we can achieve greater than status quo. What sets your project appart? How can you exaggerate that aspect? How about your target audience? How are they unique? Take the ideas you write down and develop them even further into the stratosphere. Don’t worry about keeping a grip on reality or what will get approved at this point. Release the Kraken and explore the depths.

3- Land on Jupiter

Make the inventive a reality; meet halfway. Now that you’re thinking with a fearless, liberated mind, consider implementation and what will actually be useful to sell your project. Maybe it’s an Earthen Plutonian Frankenstein mash-up of previous ideas. Maybe it’s something fresh and new entirely. If nothing else, you’re left with more creative and memorable ideas than you started with. You’re on your way.

The Results

The more you stretch your mental range and the more ideas you can write down, the better your brain gets at jumping ahead and brainstorming more effectively. Eventually, you might get lucky and a land on Jupiter right away. Other times, it still takes a thousand words to achieve a great idea.

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Natalie is art director and design geek at NeuConcept.