Where do design ideas, concepts and inspiration come from?
I expect everyone has a slightly different answer to this question. Early on, one of my most influential mentors set out a formula for the creative process wrapped in a funky visual image. Believe it or not, the visual image we explored was that of a pregnant cow out in a field sunning herself and chewing her cud.
“What on earth does that have to do with the creative process?” you might wonder. First let me describe the phases she outlined to help me understand the creative process.
When facing a creative challenge, I first research the topic or question. I let what I’ve found sink in, then do some more research. This is the input phase.
Next comes a phase of reflection, where I put the topic out of my conscious mind.
When ideas come bubbling up of their own accord out of my subconscious I move to the phase of brainstorming (either alone or in a team). No judgments, just ideas.
Next comes synthesis. I begin to sketch out or write out ideas, and to judge them. If I get stuck somewhere, I begin to layout anything I do have (sometimes an outline or headlines or a visual image). Whatever I have to work with. The process of working on any part of the project seems to allow my subconscious to continue to process and often results in new ideas. Ones that work.
So what about that pregnant cow?
Lynn, my mentor, had me visualize a pregnant cow in a field, no stress, no anxiety, chewing and rechewing (processing input), digesting and redigesting the results, while waiting for the pregnancy to inevitably result in birth (of ideas). So, when I do become frustrated or blocked, I remember that cow, and give my conscious process a rest, trusting myself to give birth to new ideas.
I’d love to hear your experiences with your creative process. Similar to mine? Totally different? Anyone else out there visualizing pregnant cows?