Creativity it is in all of us


What would it mean to argue that creativity is not anything special? It is not uncommon for people to say to me, “How did you ever get that idea?” Without meaning to be glib I say, “step by step” I can see the disappointment in their eyes, they want a flash of inspiration, that light bulb moment. Traditionally it was thought that people are either born Beethovens or Bob Dylans or they are not. It is a myth that creativity is this elusive magical gift that resides in the minds of designers, musicians, artists.

With web design, most of my ideas don’t involve a flash but a searchlight. It is like looking for something in the dark using a torch. You shine, asking questions, look some more and keep on asking questions.

Creativity as a web designer is my ability to bring into existence something that has not existed before. Every website that I design and create is unique whether it is the content, choice of typography, use of colour and even the copy that I write.

When I am not able to be creative, I feel exhausted. When I can be creative, I feel inspired and energised. It is a different feeling than if I am just using my mind to complete a task.

There seem some universal traits that creative individuals share; a curiosity and a wonder at the world, openness to new experiences, a willingness to take risks and imagination. When I am designing, time for me is distorted, and a sense of happiness and well-being overcomes me. I have heard it called a state of flow to me it feels like when things seem to go just right. I feel alive and fully attentive to what I am doing.

Research into creativity presents a convincing case that it manifests through small incremental steps. In any web design project, my ideas are modified and elaborated. I realised that that the step by step process happens as I run into obstacles, I experiment with solutions, and run into further obstacles and so and so on. I am always elaborating and refining my previous solutions.

The single best prod to my creativity was the ability to decide what to do and how to do it. As a freelancer web designer, I have a sense of control over my ideas and my work.

Creativity Exercises

  • Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know or generally, avoid.
  • Do an activity with your non-dominant hand: writing, eating, brushing your teeth.
  • Read the paper in a different order
  • Intentionally sleep in a new place
  • Take notes with coloured pens and papers
  • Imagine yourself as someone you are not: an artist singer, athlete, doctor
  • Describe ordinary objects in different ways. This can help you transfer characteristics from one object to another to solve a problem. (E.g. It is not a TV remote; it is a laser guided measuring tool and calculator.

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