The Freelance Logo Designer’s Guide to Jump Starting Creativity
Do you ever get stuck when you’re designing logos? Maybe you draw a blank on how to even begin, or perhaps you nearly finish but can’t quite decide what would make the logo “just right.” If this sounds like you, you're not alone... And there are many things – big and small – that you can do to get your creativity flowing again.
Image from mindomo.com
Getting Started: 7 Ways to Get Your Logo Design Juices Flowing
So, you landed a project but just can't figure out how to get started? Join the club. Creative professionals run into this all the time – they just need a little push to get started. Here are a few ways to get your creative juices flowing:
- Get briefed as early as possible – The more information you have, the better. Meet with the client as soon as possible and ask any questions that come to your mind. Find out why you’re creating the logo, what the purpose behind it is, what message they want to portray, and more.
- Reject your first “x number” of ideas – Grab a piece of paper and write down every idea or concept that comes to your mind. Then, cross off the first 10 or 15. Usually, the first ideas people generate are pretty basic and can be passed over.
- Experiment – Try new approaches to the same idea – new colors, new shapes, etc. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. To come up with a great idea, it will likely take a lot of bad ones.
- Ask “What if?” – If you’re really stuck, let your mind wander and ask “what if” questions:
- What if I mirrored the image?
- What if I switched the location of “x”?
- What if I changed the font?
- What if I changed the color?
- And on and on…
Getting Unstuck: 16 Things to Do When You're Stuck in the Middle
If you’re in the middle of a project and just don’t know what to do next, take a look at some of the following creativity hints – they can get you going in no time:
- Keep inspiring things around you – Cut out magazine clips, display photos of your family, or paint your walls bright colors. Use whatever inspires you and surround yourself with it. Graphic design magazines, like HOW Magazine, Print Magazine, and Communication Arts are a great place to start.
- Turn on the tunes – Music not only puts you in a good mood and drowns out distractions, but can also enhance your creativity. Pop on some tunes that inspire you and get to work!
- Try a different medium – If you're stuck, try creating in a different way. Sketch something. Take photographs. Paint something. Are you using process colors? Mix them together and see what comes up. The bottom line: get away from the computer screen and just do something different.
- Create a mind map – Draw a mind map and include all ideas and concepts you've had, whether large or small. It’ll help you grow your ideas and better explore the topic. There are several web-based apps, including Mindomo and MindNode.
- Write it down – Find a notepad and write down all the ideas you have. Every single one of them, even if you think they’re bad. Who knows what might spark a bigger, better idea?
- Get new ideas – Participate in new activities to generate ideas:
- Go dancing
- Create pottery
- Take an art class
- Go for a run
- Try an improv class
- Play in the park
- Talk with someone new – It’s natural for everyone to associate with people who are like them – who participate in the same activities, lead a similar lifestyle, etc. Next time you're out and about, talk with someone you may not normally make conversation with, even if it's as small as saying hello to the person next to you in line.
- Combine two or more ideas – Do you have old projects that never came to fruition? Dig those out and consider combining them with your newest project. Mix an old sketch with a new idea and see what results.
- Do household chores – This may seem silly (or a hassle), but it helps to get your mind off the task at hand. Get up from your desk and let your mind wander while you’re washing dishes, cleaning the floor, or dusting. Who knows what you'll come up with?
- Surround yourself with new things – Go see a movie, read your favorite magazine, try a new Pandora station, check out a new restaurant, or (if you have the time) take a mini vacation.
- Set a deadline – If you don’t have one already, set a deadline for yourself. Many people get more creative as a deadline approaches because their mind is forced to be imaginative and creative.
Next time you're stuck on a logo design, try some of the above tips – some will work for you, some won’t. Use trial and error to discover what truly sparks your creativity and you'll be on your way to an awesome logo in no time.
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