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Now, where to start…

For me, the creative process is a mixture of both intuition and deliberation. I always begin the brainstorming process with an initial discovery stage. This process begins with research. Depending on the specific project, the research conducted looks different. In most cases, personas and experience maps tend to be the fastest route. These are done based on secondary data/research done by others. When time allows, focus groups and interviews are conducted. This process creates the foundation for decisions moving forward, making connections clearer and stronger, and allowing me to enter into the project with an open mind, taking into account different perspectives, while broadening and refining the way I approach the specific task at hand. During this process ideas begin to form and I start envisioning an end product. That’s when it’s time to get to work.

Design can me a cumbersome endeavor. There are most often than not, a ton of ideas generated, with a lot of back and forth. Mistakes are made, embraced and even sometimes incorporated into the final concept. As a mother, I read a lot of children’s books. The process is perfectly described in one of my daughters’ favorite books, “The Most Magnificent Thing” written by Ashley Spires.

The story is about a little girl who has set out to create the most magnificent thing. She knows what she wants, but struggles to get the end product she expects. She eventually goes for a walk (also one of my favorite steps in the creative process). Once her head is clear, she comes back with a fresh perspective. She begins to revisit her previous “failed” attempts and finds a lot of things “quite right” with each of them. This, in the construction world, is often times referred to as “leveraging lessons learned on past projects”. By taking parts and pieces from previous versions, the girl is able to use them on the final product. In the end, she does in-deed create the most magnificent thing, finding the perfect solution to the problem she set-out to  solve. 

So, the lesson of the story (and this post) is simply to never give up. Take inspiration from every where, even from places you don’t expect to find it (like children’s books). Approach your work with an open mind and when you find yourself not reaching the solutions you wanted as quickly as you expected, take a walk, clear your head and start again. And most importantly, each time you make a change to your file save it as a new version. You will most likely find yourself going back and reusing elements from previous versions in the final concept. Now, get to work!