Ben Marriott on Creativity
What do you do when those creative juices have stopped flowing? How do you exercise your imagination when faced with a blank canvas?
We asked some of our artists what they do to be more creative and how they keep that creative flow going. While it's not always an easy step by step process, here are some insights into different creative processes that can help you keep being creative.
Sydney based designer/ illustrator Ben Marriott exhibits his imagination through puns and ridiculous concepts. With a keen eye for design, patterns and sophisticated communication, Marriott is no doubt a creative force.
We asked him what he does to be creative and he responded with a list of helpful points.
Ben Marriott's idea generating process:
- Set a specific time aside to think of as many ideas as possible in that time, sketching with pencil on paper. Sometimes I set a specific number of things. (e.g. come up with 20 thumbnail layouts for a poster) It should always be a quantifiable amount or time, so that you know when to stop. If you aim to stop when it's a good enough idea, you'll never stop or stop before you discover a better one. 60 - 90 minutes I think is the optimal time. Enough to get the bad/obvious ideas out of the way, and you've got time to come up with alternative solutions.
Think of the most extreme cases. What's the worst possible idea here? What's too bizarre that the client would never go for? What's the most generic, boring solution? What would I find the funniest? What would shock the client? Thinking about this often uncovers helpful ideas or concepts that will help you find the best solution.
Leave time for these ideas to settle. Put the project out of your mind and do other unrelated tasks, better if it's the next day.
Come back to the ideas and see with clearer eyes which are and aren't worth keeping. Sometimes it's easy to get attached to ideas that seem good at the time but become weaker ideas later.
Repeat this process as many times as possible (this is a rare luxury)
Choose and combine the best 3 ideas and develop them further, still just sketched on paper.
Most of this is derived from a lecture that John Cleese gave on creativity, probably the talk that's most influenced my process.