The greatest improvisational comedians set an incredibly high creative bar. The spur-of-the-moment challenge of random and unlikely audience suggestions often lead to bizarre scenarios and inspired hilarity. I believe the nature of that challenge is the very key to invention. It seems to me that solutions forged through arbitrary or implausible connections are likely to be fresher and more interesting than what might normally be available to a mind at rest.
Now for the hack part: Make an extensive list of genres and sub genres you find in literature, movies, music and visual arts—Science Fiction, Horror, Detective, Fairy Tales, Haiku, Westerns, Reggae, Art Deco, Self Help, Travel… (you get the picture). Select something from the list to use as a lens through which to view your creative task and notice how it opens the door to new and innovative ideas. Even applying genres associated with unrelated artistic disciplines can add huge value. Imagine how cubism could impact a written work of fiction, or how a poster with a psychedelic rock vibe might stand apart.
You don’t have to be a professional songwriter or sculptor to benefit. Integrating unique frames of reference will enhance your creative output and elevate your well being, whether you are planting a garden, cooking a special meal or just deciding what to wear. Shake things up, explore what’s possible and, above all, have fun.
On the eastern edge of the dying Salton Sea and an hour north of the Mexican border lies Bombay Beach, a trailer park of a town that died decades ago but who’s eclectic collection of residents somehow keep the lights on. The beach is pulverized bone, baked to a crust in the California sun. It smells of rotting fish and gasoline. Think botulism. Think Book of Eli. It’s hard to believe a place like this actually exists.
What’s most fascinating about Bombay Beach is that it has become home to an art festival called the Bombay Beach Biennale. In the spring of 2018, over a hundred artists descended on this 10-by-10 block town and transformed it into a cultural destination, complete with a drive-in, opera house (dilapidated house), and Institute of Particle Physics, Metaphysics & International Relations. What they left behind is a suspiciously fitting collection of installations that complete the town’s image. In Bombay Beach, the line between art and toxic decay has become completely blurred.
Bombay Beach is a nostalgic place where art imitates life.
Unfortunately, the ecological disaster called the Salton Sea continues to shrink, ever concentrating in salinity and tilapia. Make the trip if you can. One day, the town might cease to be and that would be a shame because Bombay Beach is also a place where art enhances life.
Louis Armstrong was an amazing jazz musician, so why not make music that is as close to his as possible? I wouldn’t want to listen to someone doing cover songs of Louis Armstrong if I could just listen to Louis Armstrong.
It’s always good to know the competitor’s website that a client prefers, but I would never want to deliver anything with a likeness to it. A brand is a unique identity, a differentiator, the best it can be. It’s not a Dummy Song, a likeness of the original.
Unique identity is derived from well thought out strategy. Having a website that is well thought out and confident enough to stand apart from other sites allows your brand to be a Miles Davis, respected and original.
Leave your feedback in the comments section below. Does strategy for a website make you think So What or What a Wonderful World this would be if your brand were unique?
Same day creative deliverables are a thorn in my side. Creativity is not a linear process and the harder you work at a problem, the more you become attached to initial or incorrect solutions. I promise you’ll get better results if the seeds of an idea are first planted, and then given time to incubate. Allow your brain the time to make unplanned associations as your subconscious continues to processes ideas. You may be hit by sudden inspiration or notice something outside the work environment that relates to the problem and provides a novel solution. Sure, we can all hammer out deliverables under stressful timelines but an uninspired idea is, well… uninspiring.
I always want to create the most awesome piece of technology that I can. It makes me think of a master chef who always strives to make something bold and great. Doing that requires big visions and sometimes a lot of courage. It also requires a great deal of humility. It doesn’t matter if 90% of people in North America love quiche. It only matters if the chef’s customers love quiche.
Websites, email campaigns, print campaigns, hosting, and almost anything else you could think of is measurable. Since customers don’t always want exactly what we envision, measuring and adapting these campaigns is like a taste test for thousands of people at a time. I strive to be bold and different, but I always want to create a recipe that succeeds.
As a designer, I think there is huge value in making an effort to engage emotionally with my audience. I believe we experience emotion only when there is a shift in the level of an emotional state, either up or down, and that the emotion fades once we stabilize at a new equilibrium. It is the movement in levels that we experience as emotion (hence, being “moved”), and with that comes the possibility of growth or behavioral change. Understand that decisions are made emotionally, not logically. Connect to the heart and you will affect the change you are looking for.
I am an avid hiker. If I could, I’d be on the trails 365 days a year, rain, snow, or shine. Not only is it great exercise, but it actually improves my creativity. Spending time outdoors in nature replenishes the problem-solving parts of the brain that actually get depleted when we are constantly engaged with technology. In nature, my mind enters a state of soft-fascination and my thoughts begin to wander. It’s also been proven that we are better at coming up with creative ideas while walking rather than sitting. So the next time you find yourself stuck for a creative solution, maybe the best thing you can do is go for a hike. Just remember to print out that map so that you can turn the phone off. And make sure you invite me.