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If you work in marketing, then you know that creativity is key. Without original and fresh ideas, campaigns, websites and designs just won’t stand out from the competition or offer that original flare.
Any creative person will tell you that sometimes, ideas and designs just lack that special ingredient and fail to leave that lasting impression. Creativity takes work and practice and it can be near impossible to come up with something right on the spot.
Creativity is like a mood – sometimes you feel it in full force and other times, you don’t feel it for a while. It ebbs and flows and cannot simply be commanded. Working for a marketing agency, the Sherbz team are all too familiar with creativity and the struggles of channelling it daily.
Think of it like this: creativity is a majestic and mythical beast – everyone has heard the tales and seen glimpses of the beauty it can create… but it’s almost impossible to discover on demand.
Putting pressure on those people to ‘just do it better’ or be more creative can leave anyone feeling a little bit lost and disheartened. Creativity is abstract – and abstract ideas don’t come from ‘just do it better’, they come from free thought, inspiration and like-minded people.
So, how do you bring out the best in creative people? And if you yourself are a creative person, how do you bring out the best in yourself?
The good news is, there are in fact ways to inspire creativity in even the most resistant minds. If you’re struggling to get those creative juices flowing, then the Sherbz team is here to share some of our secrets.
As a leading digital marketing agency in Birmingham, our team of weird and wonderful individuals have tried and tested methods to bring the best out of themselves and others to create brilliant websites, stunning designs, and creative and compelling content.
Below, we’ll cover everything we do when we’ve hit a creative block.
The simplest but easiest solution is to just take a quick break. Sometimes, the best way to get creative is to step away from the problem altogether.Get away from the screen for a little while, grab some fresh air or just do some completely unrelated to work. You might find that when you come back to the task at hand, you have a fresh perspective and new ideas.Failing that, it’s nice to step away and have a breather from work ideas. A change of scenery encourages original thought and a fresh perspective you just won’t get from staring at something for too long.
Too much freedom can be just as paralysing as too little. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, try setting some parameters for yourself.For example, if you’re brainstorming campaign ideas, think about who your target audience is and what kind of message you want to communicate. Once you have a general direction, it will be easier to come up with specific concepts.Also, setting some structure with how often you work is a good idea. For every hour you sit working, give yourself a little break to stretch your legs and have a little walk to get the blood flowing.
It’s hard to be creative when you’re constantly being interrupted by emails, phone calls, meetings and everything else in between.When you need to focus, make sure your work environment is conducive to concentration. Turn off your phone, close your emails and let people know not to disturb you unless it’s an emergency.Sometimes, just shutting yourself off from the world will let the creativity in. If you’re more of a stimulating creative, having music playing or visual stimulus is a good idea to keep the creativity flowing and maintain an active mind.
More often than not, you just need to jumpstart your brain to get the creative juices flowing. Try working in a different location, working with music or having something inspiring nearby. For example, if you’re an artist, being around colourful or natural stimuli can help.At Sherbet House, we have a selection of spaces to help us tap into that creative mindset, catch up with our team, or deal with a bit of a creative crisis on the bean bags.
Collaborating with others is a great way to come up with fresh ideas and something we love to do at Sherbet Donkey. Sometimes, collaborating with your team creates some of the weirdest but also most exciting ideas.Brainstorming sessions can help spark new perspectives and keep you from getting stuck in a rut. Plus, it’s always more fun to brainstorm with a team than go it alone.
If you’re mulling over ideas and you’re finding it hard to really pin down some of the specifics, go away and come back to it. Sleep on it, exercise, go away for an hour, even go for a little drive if you can. Time away from the problem will help you to see things more clearly and hopefully give you some much needed space to fully realise your ideas and concepts.
Ultimately, you have to be persistent: creativity is often a matter of trial and error. Don’t be discouraged if your first few ideas don’t stick to the wall, just keep brainstorming and eventually you’ll find something that clicks and will impress you, your team… or the client!
From an employer’s perspective, it’s fundamentally crucial to also build the right environment. Creatives need a safe space. Creatives need a space that allows them to be themselves. Creatives need a space that is free from judgement and unsupportive criticism.
It’s often hard to strike that balance, and as a marketing agency that’s new to Birmingham (we are only a year old), we’ve still managed to create that safe space for our team. It’s not just the work culture that counts, it’s literally the space too.
The Sherbet office is filled with colourful books, creative people, keen ideas, and lots of voices and opinions. Take ten minutes to relax in the chill out area, grab a snack from the fridge, or go make a tea with a colleague, the ideas will come.
Good, constructive feedback. No one can learn from their mistakes until they know what they’ve done wrong, or at least what they can do differently. Saying what works, what doesn’t work, and how this piece could be improved can provide the opportunity to do better.
We all need constructive feedback to be our best selves. Initiative is a brilliant thing, but it can only get you so far. Collaborative ideas, supportive discussions and chatting with likeminded people about how to improve or build on an idea can be the key to encouraging creatives.
By providing helpful and constructive feedback to creatives, you’ll soon start to see their best work once again.
So, you’ve tried everything else. There’s still a slump. Well, don’t despair just yet!
When all else fails, try to stimulate your creatives with a few exercises that can boost not just morale and energy but creativity as well.
Each exercise below is designed to only be a few minutes, maybe even up to 20 minutes if talking through them with others, so there’s really no excuse to not try them out!
Created by Bob McKim of the Stanford Design Program, the aim of this exercise is to take 30 circles on a sheet of paper (you can draw them out, but it’ll be easier just to print a template off) and just draw anything in 3 minutes.
The aim is to produce creative quantity, not creative quality. This might seem counter-intuitive for creatives but, with such a short space of time, it’s designed to get you to think flexibly. This tactic is called divergent thinking.
You don’t have time to think, just create. Let your mind run wild. Try it as a team and you can see what they did differently to you. Acts as a good icebreaker too.
This one’s more for the writers but works for anyone that is in a creative role. Just grab a pen, and a piece of paper and write.
And don’t stop writing for 5, 10 or 20 minutes, you decide. It doesn’t matter what you write, just let your mind run wild and write whatever pops into your head, even if you just start by writing “I don’t know what I’m writing!”
The key to this exercise is to not really let the pen leave the page for the allotted time and let your subconscious take over. That constant stream-of-consciousness will allow you to write anything without parameters or limitations, freeing and opening your mind.
This is a good one for the whole team.
You start by taking a popular phrase or idiom, such as “happy as a clam” or “an axe to grind”, scribble a basic ‘starter’ line onto a piece of paper and give your creative/s a few minutes to complete a picture based on the phrase.
You’ll be amazed at the different solutions people come up with and it will not only free the mind from doing something off-book, but it’ll give you the chance to see how others think, empathise with their way of perception and is always a good laugh!
These exercises and tips are designed to help get those creatives out of a rut and do something completely off-book to help them find their creative spark and unique inspiration.
And if you’re still struggling to bring out the best of your creatives after all of this, then just reach out to us here at Sherbet Donkey Media… After all, as a leading digital marketing agency in Birmingham, our exceptional creatives are always on hand to help inspire, discuss creative ideas, or help you fully realise a tricky concept.
Our team are available 9-5 every weekday and we’d be more than happy to discuss your concepts or help you to fully realise an idea for a website, logo, or marketing strategy.
Alternatively, we offer fantastic SEO services, compelling and informative written content, and websites designed and developed with the user at the forefront. If you’d like to know more about who we are, what we do, or which creative geniuses could help your business, get in touch.
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