Nurturing the creative webdesigner within

“An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.”
– Bill Bernbach (American advertising executive, 1911-1982)

As a web designer you are primarily a creative person however there is always room for more creativity, anyone who has ever experienced web designers block will know that this is true.

So if you accept that you are indeed a creative person, then you should appreciate like any skill, attribute or trait you can nurture and enhance this facet. In this way it is possible for you to become more creative than you have ever imagined possible. The key to doing this is to put your creative talent to work and practice, practice, practice.

How do you practice being creative? Well the first thing you need is a place in which to be creative – a space of your own. If possible, it should be a space that’s comfortable and conducive to creative thinking – a place free of distraction and noise.

Ideally you will have a large desk or table, a comfortable chair, good lighting and the proper tools or equipment. At this stage, you are only focusing on your creativity and formulating ideas. You’re still brainstorming. To help you focus, you might try a little mood music.

What music you choose would be down to you, and your personal taste. We are also so often caught up in our computer screens and online worlds, that I would advise windows out into the world are good, and even if you are working in a built up city you still have a window to some elements of nature (the sky) and life.

Now remember I said a large desk or table. That is because by all means have your computer/laptop setup, but have space for a large (A3 minimum – A1/A0 ideally) piece of paper. Now grab that pen/pencil and paper. If you like, you can setup a webcam to record your creative sessions. Whatever medium you choose, make sure you record every single idea; don’t let any of them get away.

You may not be able to retrieve them later. At this stage, don’t try to censor yourself, just write down everything that occurs to you, no matter how silly or bizarre they might sound.  Don’t allow yourself be negative; this is no time to be critical with yourself. Just let yourself go. Try writing for about fifteen minutes at a time. Natalie Goldberg says to just keep your hand moving across the page.

Not just written words but design concepts, ideas, doodles, notes, navigation elements and whatever else comes to mind is all valid.

Francis Bacon said, “Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” Then take a break. Get up, stretch, take a walk, and relax
Give yourself time every day to daydream, to ask “What if?” Remind yourself you’re a creative being and allow yourself to maintain that childlike wonderment.

Question everything. When you run into the “That’s just the way we’ve always done things,” attitude, try this:

Keeping an online journal or alternative blog is an excellent way to avoid losing all those marvelous ideas your creative mind is capable of churning out. Allow yourself that spontaneous creativity. A multimedia scrapbook, not concerned with promotion, new business or other non creative thought process’.

The key to being really successful at this is to ensure you do actually enjoy being a web designer. William Shakespeare said, “No profit grows where is no pleasure taken, in short, study what thou dost affect.” Simply put, do what you love and you will succeed. You work hardest where your heart lies.

Give yourself the proper incentive to work hard on developing your creativity. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Sit down and begin the process of creating; and the Muse, in curiosity, will appear.

Many times, visualization is very helpful in the process of creating a new idea. Each person has their own way to bring their creativity to the forefront. You will doubtless find your own way to entice the Muse to visit you. Benjamin Franklin used to take air baths to stimulate his thinking. The ritual itself is not important; it’s only a way of focusing your mind on developing creative ideas.

Other factors may include a music that inspires you, the time of day when your creativity is at peak, or working in a particular place each time. The important part is to train your mind to think creatively. This takes a little time and effort, but is well worth it in the long run. When creative inclinations (such as questioning everything, asking what if, and stretching your mind) become automatic, you can pat yourself on the back. You’re developing the creative side of your brain, inviting the Muse. Congratulations!

Remember, developing creative ideas is not enough. You must back it up with action. Robert Ringer said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” Put those wonderful ideas into motion. Take action!

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