Creative Process - Creative Hacks

The Best of...creative hacks

 

How do creative people get, and stay, creative? We chatted with the people behind Blind Barber, Parachute Home, Café Gratitude, and others about their secrets to creativity including hot showers, laughter and exercise. Read below...

 

IDEAS ARE ELUSIVE.

And in creative work - you need them to be on your side and meeting deadlines. Not always easy.

 

In my experience, whether it’s making a cup of tea or running around the neighborhood, you need an almost ceremonial act to get going. For me, it’s taking a shower. When that’s not an option, indulging in a good binge-y internet wormhole is often the trick that gets me to “well, that’s enough of that” and onto working. It seems silly and inconsequential but once you find and begin to honor this need, you’ll notice you spend a whole lot less time trying to figure out why you can’t coax an idea out and more time creating.

 

Similarly, when it comes to beginning a project - start anywhere. Think about it as if you’re naming a book. Sometimes you start with the title, but more often the title comes at the middle or end when there is some context to inform it. When inspiration and/or motivation strikes, dive in, even if it’s part of the project that isn’t logically first. Simply starting is always better than procrastinating or feeling listless.

 

JESSICA WEN-DI TAN, ART DIRECTOR

 
 

Take a hot shower. 

Come on, you know you have had your best ideas during a long shower; steam going and the outside world drowned out by the water hitting the tub tiles.  Well, if you haven't, I sincerely suggest the next time you are stuck, that you get that shower going and have Siri ready to take some notes because the ideas are going to be coming in hot (skip the note pad and pen, no one likes a wet bathroom floor, Siri can handle the verbal notes ya know?).


In truth, there is some science to this as well.  It has been shown that hot showers have three links to improving creativity:

  1. Warm showers release dopamine. This cool little chemical found in our brain "helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them" (psychology today)
  2. Our muscles are relaxed due to the warmth of the shower and steam.  This helps with the creativity because it allows us to focus on the idea/problem rather than any underlying pain we may be experiencing in our muscles and joints.  Being relaxed is a great state to be in when trying to think outside the box.
  3. We're distracted, but in a good way.  Being distracted by the warmth, steady sounds of the water hitting the tub and all that good stuff gives our mind a break and lets our subconscious take the steering wheel for a bit.

 

So, next time you are stuck or need a little creative boost; strip on down, hop in tub and let the shower do the rest.

 

Jeff Laub, Founder of Blind Barber

 
 

 

STEP AWAY FROM IT.

Parachute makes modern home essentials, and it’s my job to design these bedding and bath products – to make sure they look and feel amazing.

I have over 15 years of experience working in home textiles, leading product teams at Ralph Lauren Home and Shabby Chic prior to joining Parachute. My creative process has evolved – with digital platforms like tumblr and pinterest – but my approach to design and problem solving remains largely unchanged.


It starts with a fabric, color or compelling image – a single source of inspiration can guide the direction of a new product! I’m addicted to tumblr, and I’ll start saving images I love on my desktop and play around with them to tell a new product story, a photoshoot concept, etc. I don’t categorize any of them, but rather allow them to speak to me, gleaning what I need.

Through this process, these visuals eventually become a more focused mood board, and I begin tacking swatches, quality details and textures alongside the images. If I’ve succeeded, it should be immediately clear what I’m trying to express upon looking at the mood board. Ariel Kaye (our Founder and CEO) and our Merchandising team should understand the design vision and we’ll move forward from there.

If I’m working through a design challenge – maybe a sample wasn’t how I anticipated or a detail feels off – my ‘hack’ is simply to step away from it. It helps me to stimulate different senses – I love to cook, I garden, I bought a turntable so I wouldn’t have to rely on my computer for music, etc! By shifting my focus and engaging in different types of creativity, I find that my design instincts are sharpened.

Sometimes it does take a few rounds. Our Essential Quilt required several iterations before we achieved something that looked modern but still evoked the classic homespun qualities of a quilt. Trust your intuition when it’s right. And then move on to the next one!

 

Amy Hoban, Creative/Product Director at Parachute
As told to Rebecca Prusinowski, Director of Content at Parachute

 
 

 

Kick The Routine.

In my experience, I struggle to be creative when I am stuck in a routine. I think stagnant energy creates stagnant thoughts. The easiest way for me to resolve this is to do some form of exercise. Sweating and getting my blood flowing clears my head and brings back inspiration. I can also get the same result by attending a social function I normally would not attend, or meeting new people. The best parts of life are always outside my comfort zone. I resist this fact, kicking and screaming for the comfort of my routine, but know full well I have to do it.

 

I also find alot of inspiration in humor. Some of my most self proclaimed brilliant thoughts have come out of a ridiculous laughing fit conversation with a co-worker. I think the key to this is allowing my thoughts to be unrestricted and even ridiculous. I think of ideas that are funny or provocative, with no attachment to them being realized. Eventually I distill them down to something viable and end up back where I started: telling everyone I am a genius.

 

Cary Moiser, Owner of Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre