boost your creativity?
10 tips from creative professionals in the field
Being employed at a design studio, advertising agency, or any creative enterprise involves constantly generating new, inventive, and unique ideas.
However, even the most celebrated artist can encounter challenges in sustaining their creative flow throughout the daily grind. This struggle becomes particularly real when there is a need to create fresh concepts on demand, within a set timeframe.
Call it content creation fatigue, idea drought, or any other fancy name, creativity cannot be forced. Nevertheless, approaches exist to stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain and rekindle the process.
Here, we present 10 practical suggestions to invigorate your creativity, shared by seasoned professionals in the creative field.
1. Sara Kandou
Lead Digital Marketing Consultant at online advertising agency The Next Ad
"I've learned that creativity cannot be forced. Personally, I've found that my creativity flourishes outside of work hours when I have time for myself.
During these moments, I immerse myself in things that inspire me; following creative accounts/brands and sometimes engaging in conversations with the target audience, showing genuine interest in their perspectives.
Ideas often strike me in the evenings and I try to immediately jot them down on my phone, capturing their essence before they slip away.
However, this year's game-changer has been AI tools. While I don't believe AI should or could replace our creativity, it can serve as a powerful ally when used strategically. I enter my saved notes into tools like ChatGPT, instructing it to generate examples based on them. The results often spark fresh inspiration, which I then tailor to suit the specific needs of my clients.
Creativity thrives when we find the right balance between “me-time”, surrounding ourselves with inspiration, and leveraging the potential of AI tools. It's not about replacing our creativity, but enhancing it."
2. Hoyte de Ranitz
Designer, Yoga instructor, and Creative Director at Branding Agency BrandShape.
"I usually collect creative clues when I’m traveling, visiting a new city or museum, or while in conversations with people.
However, it’s an entirely different thing to really become creative. For this, I need to be alone without any distractions and often meditate first to clear my mind.
I keep blank sheets of paper and a smooth fine liner nearby while sitting at my desk or on the floor on my yoga mat. Often a rough ‘big idea’ appears in my mind after meditating. So I start creating a mind map; with keywords in the middle, surrounded by related elements such as words, pictures, symbols, sequences…anything that comes up.
The next phase is to organize and eliminate, keeping the best stuff so what’s left is the starting point for a first design, whether that’s an interior design idea, a product, a brand name/ logo, or a yoga class…It’s all the embodiment of a first idea.
Then I leave it for a night (or 2) and sometimes discuss it with a peer or give it a little tryout, before working it out in further detail in stages."
3. Virginia Waldburger
Art Director and Illustrator at creative agency Blast Off
"I am more creative and balanced when I am given enough time for my projects. Generally, it helps me to make notes and sketches already during the briefings. Once I've written or drawn something by hand, I keep it in mind and often come up with good ideas very quickly. Generally, I like having 2-5 different projects on the table so I can choose what I'd like to work on at any given time.
This doesn't always work out of course, especially when projects need to be launched really fast within a limited time. It helps to consciously take some deep breaths, listen to piano music, and briefly go out to get some fresh air (with a cigarette, of course!).
There are days when I'm totally in the flow with ideas just bubbling up. Then there are also days I just can't find any good ideas. I believe that if you don't stress yourself out too much you should be reconciled with yourself and your creativity.
Get off work early, and let go of work. Quite unexpectedly, when you become calmer and relaxed again, great ideas come to mind, whether in the bathtub, in the gym on the treadmill, or while waiting at the bus stop."
4. Icara Kraidy
Owner and Designer at Studio Ica
“When I need inspiration, I love playings 90s/00s music VERY LOUD! Sorry neighbors ;)) Singing and dancing along, I feel just like a teenager in my old bedroom again. Nothing makes me feel happier and more creative than a good dose of nostalgia.”
5. Marco Dreijer
Owner and Content Creator at online magazine De Cultuurvlogger
"I am a person who is always overflowing with creative ideas, my creativity keeps flowing all day long. My tip for achieving this is to make sure you take enough moments during the day to stop and do absolutely nothing.
When you're always on the go, focused on work ideas and multiple projects, it keeps your mind too busy and prevents you from simply letting your creativity flow freely. Those great ideas really start coming once you unwind and do nothing.
This totally explains why people often come up with amazing ideas in the shower, when they aren't occupied with anything else.
Also, make sure you write things down immediately whenever ideas come up. Inspiration can be so elusive! It happened so many times that I suddenly had an amazing thought, but couldn't quite remember it later because I hadn't written it down. Always make sure you carry a notepad with you, or note it in your phone right away."
6. Xanne Jelgerhuis Swildens - Zantman
Owner and Social Content Specialist at Creatives by Xanne
"When I need inspiration, there is a mix of things I do to come up with creative content. Scrolling through Instagram stories and reels for example, checking out all the different fonts people use, or the flow of their videos.
Another thing I often do, is listen to music on my airpods while just playing around with templates in Canva. I call this my crafting hour, haha. Creating new templates gives me so much new inspiration, and sometimes I end up spontaneously filling up a whole new content calendar for a client."
7. Lydia-Renee Darling
Founder and Producer of digital marketing and press agency Oh! (My Gosh) Creative Co.
"Whenever I'm experiencing a creative block, I pause. I take the time to reflect on my values and my goals before moving forward. Looking inward helps bolster my creative process because I'm not trying to overthink and logic my way out of the problem I'm facing. Next time you're up against a wall, take a beat, walk away, and reflect before making your next move."
8. Rafael Saupe
Co-owner and Strategic Designer at creative consulting company desillusion & Co.
"Instead of sitting in front of a big screen in a small office waiting for inspiration, I love to go to the most urban place that can be reached in a short time. I sit on a bench or in a café, observing the built environment, the street scenes, and the people going by.
Then, I start to collect situations, documenting them in photos, sketches and/or notes. While documenting, I let my fantasy flow, combining the inputs into new ideas, and find patterns of what might make urban places work.
A lot of concentration is needed to not lose focus while observing urban life - but there is no richer melting pot to find inspiration, ideas, and creative solutions than in the center of the city. After such a short or longer scouting excursion, I get back to work with a lot of creative material - and also with a lot of new energy."
9. Laura Hofer
Owner and Creative Director at brand design studio HO.LA
“Inspiration can be found everywhere. As a creative, it's important to go through life with your eyes open. Whenever I come across a beautiful spot, a plant, flowers, books, furniture, or anything that inspires me, I take a picture or save it for later if it's online.
Don't be too serious and hard on yourself if you don't have any ideas. This can block you. Instead, try to play around and use fonts you've never used before, or explore new colors or anything that's outside your comfort zone. Sometimes, this can lead to new ways of thinking that you haven't considered.”
10. Neha Chandra
Designer at creative branding studio Neha Chandra Studio
“When confronted with a creative block, I've discovered that embracing exploration and connection is the key to reigniting the spark of inspiration.
To initiate the creative process, I cast a wide net and delve into various sources of inspiration. Platforms such as Pinterest, Behance, MaxiBestOf, and my curated Muzli feed become my imaginative playground. I immerse myself in this vast tapestry of ideas, allowing myself to wander through endless possibilities.
Engaging in subconscious activities like tinkering and housekeeping liberates my mind from conscious constraints. I allow myself to daydream, granting my imagination the freedom to roam. It is during these moments that ideas often seep in, and the creative flow returns.
Ultimately, the key is to embrace the joy of exploration and remain open to unexpected connections that can fuel our creative endeavors. By immersing ourselves in an inspiring world, seeking new surroundings, and nurturing our daydreams, we can reignite the creative spark within and breathe new life into our projects.”