Being creative is about more than designing beautiful visuals and attractive layouts. The most creative designers are able to find the best solutions to the issues that users face when using an interface, and ultimately craft the best user experience for the visitor/customer. Problem-solving is far more difficult if you lack the creativity to think outside of the box. So, what ignites creativity?
Indeed, the colour green can boost your creativity by up to a whopping 70% (this fact varies slightly depending on the source, but the overall idea is true). This is also true of walking; so while you can certainly decorate your office with plants, embarking on a morning or lunchtime nature walk will help you clear your mind and make room for fresh ideas to develop. Walking is incredibly therapeutic, extremely good for you, and a terrific way to make you feel more mindful!
Design challenges are a more direct way of training your brain to generate creativity on-demand, although, this can be quite intensive and mentally challenging. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 45 minutes per day completing a challenge (you don’t want to spend your energy before you start your real work!). It’s best to try design challenges in the morning, to sharpen up your brain for the day to come.
One of the best ways to find unique design challenges that actually help you solve UX (as opposed to meaningless “UI redesigns”), is Daily UI, which sends you a new design challenge every day for 100 days. The challenges can range from shopping carts to user-onboarding! If all else fails, try Dribbble.
Having a Proactive Feedback Workflow
While some of your teammates may not be designers, their ideas can be the best ones — the difference between you (the designer) and them, is that they lack the Photoshop/Sketch skills to bring the idea to life. Anybody can be a problem solver. Even if their idea doesn’t completely solve the issue, it can lay the right foundations — the best designers are able to rework existing ideas.
“Oh, cool idea. Although, I don’t think that will work because of [this] — what if what if we did [this] instead?”. Design collaboration is like tennis — you bat the idea back-and-forth until finally, one of you scores a winner.
Sympli is a terrific way to hand off designs and receive contextual feedback on the specific matters, and of course, bat ideas back-and-forth, as mentioned above!
Socialising (with anybody)
If every idea needs to be your idea, the final result will suffer. Design is a collaborative process, and the best designers will do anything to find the optimal solution. Why not try sharing your setbacks with your friends? At the end of the day, it’s those that don’t work at your company who are your customers. Discuss your design with your friends and family, share it on Twitter, ask the stranger sitting next to you.
Socialising opens up your mind to new experiences, but it also helps you lets you replenish your mind of the things you no longer need to store in your brain. All those notes that you wrote down for your morning meeting? It’s afternoon now; that meeting has happened and we need to free up space in our mental capacity in order to brew fresh ideas. If you don’t find time to unwind, you’ll quickly develop what is called attention fatigue. Socialising can help you unwind and discover creative solutions at the same time — two brains are better than one!
If you only come up with one idea, even if it’s seemingly a wonderful idea, how can you be sure that it’s the best idea? Short answer: you can’t.
Without a reasonable amount of creative energy, you could be a stone’s throw away from your best ideas and never know it. Never, ever, run with the first solution that pops into your head; talk about the issue at hand with those around you and then go for a walk while you think about the idea some more.
Like I said, green spaces and nature walks work best, but it’ll serve you well to be mindful of when you’re at your most creative (before bed, in the bathtub?). You’d be very surprised at how the best designers come up with their ideas!
Tip: it’s not entirely uncommon to create an idea journal either, where you note down each idea and the times of when you came up with the idea and when you refined the final outcome!
Everybody is different, let us know your secrets to creativity on Twitter!