Creativity is a fickle beast. On occasion, it lights the fires that burn beneath the surface to drive you to new artistic heights. There are times you can get through a project with seemingly little effort - the ideas flicker naturally.
Just as Prometheus stole the fire of the gods to enable progress and civilization, a creative can often feel the guided hand of an unseen muse. But what do you do when the creatives’ fires aren’t dancing? What do you do when you can’t ignite that spark?
The only thing worse than knowing you have a deadline but nothing to show for it is being completely uninspired to do it. When this happens, it’s easy to feel like we have to wait for Prometheus to come back and light another fire for us, but the truth is we can ignite it ourselves.
The key lies in how you think.
"Lateral thinking is closely related to insight, creativity and humour."
Edward de Bono
Mind over matter
Being able to think outside the box is one of the more important qualities needed to succeed as a creative. It’s easy to fall into familiar patterns and approach every creative project with the same methodology, but this may ultimately hinder your creativity.
This pitfall can be circumvented by adopting a lateral approach to the creative process. Coined by Edward de Bono, lateral thinking refers to the process of problem-solving through unorthodox pathways using reasoning that may not be immediately clear. One example of this concept is a “skunkworks” team which refers to a group of people of varying backgrounds and skill-sets who are tasked with a single goal often done in the name of radical innovation.
How do we take the lateral thinking process one step further and create works that transcend recognition? How do we create works that have hidden meanings that stay in the minds of our audiences longer?
Let’s take a look at some logos!
Cave art and beyond
From petroglyphs, to hieroglyphs, logograms, pictograms, and ideograms, visual representations of ideas and concepts have evolved over time as a streamlined form of communication and information transfer. There are a few things to consider when it comes to effective logo design. We consider simplicity, recognisability, and scalability to be paramount.
Beyond the simplicity of the logos for IKEA, Nintendo, and EA, other companies have taken upon them a more clandestine approach and applied hidden meanings to their iconography that may not be immediately recognisable.
So what do you do when the fire begins to die down? Take a breather, start a brainstorm and draw inspiration from life around you. Getting your fire back can be as simple as being open-minded and seeing things through different perspectives. Your fire may not be constantly raging but as long as you nurture your flame, your creativity can always return.