Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to Develop Good Ideas I: Obstacles

Photo courtesy jdurham of

One thing every designer faces when they start a new project is how to come up with a creative solution within a tight timeline. There are those times when designers are given plenty of time, and a lot of good direction and understanding by the client. But these times are very rare. (And I know many designers who read this are chuckling.)

So, here’s a little advice coming from years of working under pressure to perform. But first, we need to identify what gets in the way of us having a free flow of ideas. Then in the next article, we will look at a good approach to deal with these effectively.

Not understanding the problem. Although a good creative brief can help us avoid this situation, there are times when we just aren’t clear enough about what we are working on to develop any ideas.

Being tired. It’s hard to think when you’re tired. All you can think about is doing something else, like resting. I know when I push to come up with ideas when I’m tired, the ideas are harder to come by, and they look a whole lot worse the next day.

Not liking the client. How do you develop ideas when you don’t believe in the project or the client?

Being under too much pressure or stress. Face it, it’s hard to perform when all you can think about is the deadline, or getting in trouble for not performing.

Being micro-managed. This is related to being under too much pressure, except the problem is not having the freedom to experiment or think on your own, without the client's or boss's input. It’s nearly impossible to come up with ideas, let alone being able to work under these conditions.

So, what do we do? How do we get our sanity back under these situations and come up with a slew of creative ideas? Let’s explore this in the next article.

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