Great art, work, products and designs often begins with great ideas or simple but amazing concepts.
It can be an abstract idea, plan, experimental model, intention, or mental image which corresponds to some distinct entity or class of entities, or to its essential features, or determines the application of a term (especially a predicate), and thus plays a part in the use of expression, reason or language (logical or emotional).
Whatever it may be, you always want it to stand out in your industry, you want it to fulfill the purpose for which it was intended or conceptualized before being created in the first place. And, if that's not your goal for creating art work then you might as well not bother about reading this article or getting inspiration for ideas, or concepts before creating your piece of art, just grab some junk from a couple of yards, put them together in the most carefree manner and hang them up wherever you'd like or write and publish whatever comes to you when you're half asleep. What art is better than junk art anyways?
I'm just kidding, you shouldn't do that, it sucks all the fun, sense, excellence and magic out of what was supposed to be a creative process and result! Besides, there's a better way to go about creating artwork and other stuff (even business plans, proposals and machines!). Whatever that artwork or design is, it all starts with getting an amazing concept or idea! This article should help you generate and conceptualize your artistic models and work.
So, talking about coming up with ideas and concepts, it's usually an easy process for some people who have the creative ability come to them naturally, or innately as a gift. These kind of creatives can come up with brilliant ideas and concepts concerning a business, brand, project/task/job approach, artwork, write up, etc. in their sleep or in split seconds of thoughts on the subject matter. We might refer to these certain kind of people as creative geniuses, they don't really have to do much to get their creative juices flowing. However, that doesn't mean they do not run out of concepts or find it hard to come up with new ideas sometimes. As a matter of fact, we all do, it's part of being human. At some point we get stuck and have blocks during the creative process, no one is left out of this problem. The thing is, there are some of us who find this problem more difficult to overcome compared to others, these class of creatives are truly special, mostly self-motivated and do not have the creative ability come to them naturally, they mostly rely on nature, people's lives and certain events for inspiration.
Well the good news is, every human has the ability to learn anything no matter how difficult it seems. Come to think of it, even skills and talents like singing, painting, sculpting, and writing can be learned and developed to a certain level of distinction.
That being said, you must bear in mind that coming up with new ideas and concepts for your art, shows, tasks, projects, etc can be learned. Also bear in mind that the process is deeply innovative, it would demand that you keep an open mind, do some research, make some changes, make some alterations and most importantly express your unique elements in the process.
Let's delve in deeper. How can you come up with brilliant ideas and concepts for your work even when you're stuck or experiencing a creative block?
Judging from my experience as a professional designer, artist, content creator, strategist and coach, I've listed some of the most effective, and efficient ways to achieve this below.
1 - Search Out Inspiration
This is obviously the beginning of every creative process and also the most common reason why many creatives never begin their work and some never finish on time while others never finish even.
Let's be honest, everyone needs some kind of inspiration at some points in their lives and a lack of inspiration can be somewhat frustrating and discouraging. There are quite a number of ways for one to get inspired and by natural design, everyone has a unique source they draw from which is sure to spark their creative genius everytime.
There are many reliable and highly effective ways and places to find inspiration. First, let's talk about the use of artistic research or investigation.
- Artistic Research:
Artists, writers (fiction and nonfiction), photographers, film makers and designers can shape artistic research or investigations into diverse concepts and ideas with respect to the nature of work being done, the end product, goal or that which is intended to be created or achieved in the realities of the artist and audience (the artwork, the emotions and reactions, etc.), following or breaking from industry traditions in pursuit of creative art-making goals. The benefits of conducting artistic researches are endless. Apart from raising your awareness a great deal, it also leaves your mind open to a lot of abounding possibilities on the subject matter being studied and boosts your chances of coming up with brilliant new ideas and fresh concepts surrounding the area of your research and work. Artistic Research or investigation helps us to know the context histories, preexisting cultures, patterns and traditions of preexisting art forms, works and design models, thereby inspiring us to come up with new ideas or concepts for creating better works of art and designs.
- Engage in Other Creative Activities:
Personally, I find that this always works for me when I get stuck on a project, it gets my mind off the task at hand and helps me relax. Having more than one creative activity has a really special effect on the mind and leaves us with a lot of options to stimulate our creative genius if ever we get stuck trying to come up with new ideas for a task. Try it out and see for yourself. Draw or paint a portrait before trying to complete that new chapter for your new novel; piece together a collage, design some fashion wear, bake some cakes or pies right before you go back to composing those lyrics.
This is a great way to get rid of creative blocks, it's recreative and puts your mind in the right state for receiving new Inspiration.
- Do Something Fun:
Sometimes, all you need is just to take a break, go on a vacation, listen to some music, play games, relax, have fun while doing fun things that'll get your mind completely off your current project for the moment. Studies show that when our minds are relaxed, happy and unburdened with work and stress, we feel healthier, more productive, creative and tend to come up with new ideas and concepts easily, most times without even trying! This is because whatever our brain considers fun naturally triggers or stimulates a release of our happy hormones which raises our energy levels, make us feel healthier, more productive, and puts us in the mood for some creative work. So if you're feeling stuck on work lately, maybe what you need isn't more stress or research, try to take a break, go on a vacation, play your favorite album, have some fun in your leisure, take some naps if you have to, anything to relieve you of any kind of mental and physical stress.
One of the greatest ways to spark your creativity is through meditation. Some of the most successful people today have cultivated the habit of meditating. Meditating has a lot of health and psychological benefits. Meditation creates a sense of balance and stability within us and alleviates our minds and bodies of stress, leaving room for fresh ideas and concepts to take shape inherently.
Studies show that people who believe in God, Source or a higher power, happen to draw inspiration from the divine. For example, the Christian Book of the Holy Bible enlightens it's readers on the fact that the whole book was written through the inspiration of the Spirit (the Christian God who is third in the Trinity, the Holy Ghost).
Well, if you're like my friend Kola and you do not believe in the existence of a God, this probably won't sit well with but try seeking out inspiration from a source you don't believe exists, unless of course you don't like treasure hunting for treasures you never hid or discovering stuff you never knew about.
Whatever your religion or spiritual practice is, engaging in it sometimes can bring you the light you have been searching for and cause you to be inspired.
Nature is one of the greatest sources of inspiration known to humans throughout history.
Try taking a walk by the beach, going on a hike, visiting a wildlife reserve, treasure hunting in forests, watching the birds, gardening, etc. Do anything that connects you with nature and see if and how inspiration comes to you.
2 - Combine Similar Concepts/Ideas:
I'd like to think of this as an idea or concept collage.
Often innovative thinking comes from combining popular ideas or products from different disciplines, professionals and talents.
At the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Steve Jobs took the stage of the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
It was a pre-touchscreen smartphone world. Most consumers controlled their phones with ugly buttons, listened to their favorite music and accessed the Internet on separate clunky devices.
Dressed in blue jeans, white sneakers and a black turtleneck, Jobs told the world he was going to introduce three revolutionary products: a widescreen iPod with touchscreen controls, a mobile phone and an internet communications device.
He flicked between iOS icons representing these three old ideas.
Then Jobs revealed how Apple had combined these ideas to create the first version of the iPhone.
Sometimes, all you need to generate new concepts and ideas is to take from preexisting ones and find the best way to piece them all together.
3 - Be In Control
Apart from being happy and in the mood for work, your mind also needs to be under your control to stay creative, productive, sharp, aware, and to be able to recognize beautiful concepts, ideas, patterns and maximize work flow.
If you're not flowing during your creative process, and you find yourself easily growing impatient, frustrated and restless, then you probably realize you might want to ask yourself why? What's the underlying reason? Perhaps it's because you've unfinished tasks you would like to have wrapped up already? Perhaps it's because you're running out of time meeting a deadline? Or maybe you're just feeling fatigued?
Occasionally, we find it really difficult to forge ahead with some of our plans, tasks, projects, etc. because we don't feel in control of our lives, mind and time. I admit, it could get really overwhelming in situations like these. All you have to do is take deep, long breathes, exhale, clear your mind and take back control. Stay in control of your life, time and yourself! No matter who you work for, you are ultimately your own boss. Be organized, diligent and proactive, it'll help you to keep track of your tasks and deadlines better and stay in control.
Do your best to remain positive. When you're always positive, your mind tends to automatically shift it's focus from limitations, stress and impossibilities to freedom, possibilities and you'll find yourself working with ease. Control your mind (your thoughts, will, emotions) and you'll control your decisions, responses or reactions. Control your time and you'll control your life. When you finally have everything in your life under your control, you'll find out that you can easily begin to come up with new ideas or concepts and forge ahead.
4 - Use Of Documentation/Storage Archives:
Considering the fact that some of the best ideas and concepts come from accidents and coincidences, having an archive for all your accidental ideas and concepts is such a brilliant way to never get stuck again on your journey as a creative.
If ever you find yourself stuck, get yourself unstuck by making reference to your archive of ideas or documented concepts and templates if you have one. In this case, generating new concepts and ideas for your art and design has to do with you being able to use the information you have stored up already to recreate effects, scenarios, better ideas, newer concepts, etc.
Although this takes a lot of hard work and dedication, I find this strategy to be very effective because it's both proactive and works best if we face time-bound challenges like meeting up deadlines.
If you haven't already, you may want to form the habit of carrying a notepad around or an audio recorder because as the saying goes, you never know when inspiration would hit you.
5 - Problem Solving:
Generating genius ideas and concepts often results from considering a problem people have, and trying to solve it.
One example is the whiteboard. It's a great tool for brainstorming and a staple in many offices. However, whiteboards aren't always portable because they're attached to walls or cumbersome trolleys. They also become dirty and dull over time.
In the 2008 series of Dragons Den in the UK, Neil and Laura Westwood proposed a disposable product they call the Magic Whiteboard. Their idea enables users to tear a whiteboard from the roll in seconds.
They subsequently won a £100,000 investment from Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden. Today, the Magic Whiteboard product is for sale in more than 20 countries.
6 - Helping Others Put Their Innovative Thinking Into Practice:
Let's think about it logically, bringing the concepts and ideas of others to life can help you come up with refined or better concepts and ideas.
Summarily, innovation is about drawing connections between different ideas. You can do this as part of a group or alone.
Assimov said, "What is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item one and item two which might not ordinarily seem connected."
Thanks for reading! Hope the article was helpful to you and remains so, please leave your comments in the section below, I'd appreciate your feedbacks. Have a great creative journey!