”WHERE do I even start with branding & design if I’m not a creative?”
That’s a question many entrepreneurs and small business owners ask themselves while they are exploring the idea of DIYing their own branding and social media design.
And it’s a logical question. You are either creative or you are not…
Or so the myth goes.
This thought process makes total sense, though.
When we think of creative geniuses like Mozart composing his first symphony at age 8 or the modern marvel, Steve Jobs who envisioned the future and catapulted our world into the tech age it’s easy to compare ourselves and automatically assume we are just NOT that creative.
But I want you to know that kind of thinking is straight up flawed.
I strongly believe that creativity can be learned because I’ve experienced it.
And no, it’s not a weird intuition or some woo-woo premonition.
I’m not making this stuff up because, well, the experts agree.
“Because creativity is a process of having original ideas that have value… It’s a process, not a single event, and genuine creative processes involve critical thinking as well as imaginative insights and fresh ideas.”
– Sir Ken Robinson (Bestselling Author of Out Of Our Heads: Learning To Be Creative).
We all have the ability to be creative, some are born with natural, creative abilities while others like me just need to be a bit more intentional about getting our creative juices flowing.
I’m going to challenge you to think of creativity as a skill you want to constantly improve on, much like physical fitness, leadership or finance.
So before you go labeling yourself as a non-creative, I want to equip you with a few tools that will help you LEARN to be creative.
My Top Three Tools To Unlocking Your Creativity
Tool #1: Train Your Mind.
Like in any other area of your life, your mind is your most powerful weapon.
The first graphics I ”hacked” via PowerPoint were designed to market my husband’s business on social media back in 2012 and they were not cute. At all.
I was majoring in nutrition and dietetics at the time and I was (and still am) a science-loving, book nerd.
I’ve NEVER been able to draw more than stick figures and I can only paint by numbers.
There’s nothing ”artsy” about me and I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be creative with my social media graphics and design.
I had to train my mind to notice and learn from other creators in the real world.
So if I was walking down the street I would pay attention to the color hues on the leaves of trees and how the sunlight created a shadow effect on tree trunks. Or I paid special attention to the shapes and paint colors on graffiti art walls as I walked by.
Simple things like that make a big difference for your creativity.
Ask yourself, why do I like this art piece? What moves me about this photography? Why do I love this specific layout?
If you can train your mind to spot details on the objects that surround you and on the visuals that command your attention, your brain will soon start to do so on auto-pilot and you’ll become a creative beast.
Tool #2. Leverage Inspiration.
I believe inspiration leads to creativity.
Have you ever noticed how ”alive” you feel after a cool experience like attending a concert or hiking up a mountain?
Or maybe a totally different activity sparks your creative mojo, like going for a swim or playing with your kiddos.
Whatever it is, keep in mind that once you learn to pinpoint how you source inspiration, you can unlock that inspiration over and over again.
It’s about being intentional and leveraging inspiration to unlock creativity in your business.
Take my experience as an example. Over time, I’ve noticed a strong connection between music and creativity in my work.
So whenever I want to do my BEST creative work, I either take a Zumba class, turn on America’s Got Talent or go on a long walk while I listen to my favorite tunes.
There’s something about music, physical activity and the outdoors that lights me up, baby.
I’m actually blaring some tunes while I write this blog and I’m on fire.
Tool #3: Study Creative Work.
Now, I want to make something really clear, studying other people’s work is not the same as copying or stealing their ideas.
You’ll get nowhere trying to be like someone else because there is no power in being unoriginal.
It’s about paying attention to other creators and their strategies so you can add your own perspectives and insights to whatever you create.
There is nothing wrong with sourcing inspiration from the people in your industry or outside of it who are rocking their branding. It’s your ability to add a new perspective and put your own twist on things that will help you stand out.
So let’s make this super actionable.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through a myriad of images on Pinterest, the next time you log in I want you to start noticing which images stand out to you.
Which color combinations did the designer include? How are they combining photography and text? Which fonts styles work well together?
Remember, creativity is a never-ending learning process.
The best graphic designers will tell you that getting inspired and studying other creatives is PART of their work. In fact, the best graphic designers I know actually spend 40% of their time just getting inspired.
And while by no means am I suggesting that you have to devote your life to being inspired (unless you design graphics for a living) I want you to pay attention to what is working online and put your own twist on it.
Over To You
What other strategies do you use to stay inspired and unlock creativity?
Drop the wisdom in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.