How to be a Creative Sponge

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Information about How to be a Creative Sponge

Published on June 9, 2007

Author: hicksdesign



(These slides don't show up at all well in slideshare at the moment. Please downloads the file). A talk given at @media 2007 (Europe) on how to collect ideas and inspiration from everywhere, how to store it, and how to use it.


BE A HOW TO IVE EAT CR GE! ON SP jon hicks : hicksdesign

quot;How do you do it? How do you get the ideas to actually design something??quot; “Mr F” from London

quot;Designers need to be visual leeches, constantly cataloguing and recording information like a camera that’s always snapping photosquot; Jason Santa Maria

quot;It seems to me that if you're a designer, then design runs through your veins like Pantone 7418. You can't stop looking at things through your designer eyes. quot; Ben Terret, “The Design Disease”

Visual Leeches ? Creative Magpies Visual Vampires Creative Sponges


The 3 stages of the Creative Sponge COLLECT! CATALOG! CREATE!

COLLECT What do we collect and where from?

What are we collecting? It’s not necessarily ‘Inspiration’ It’s not necessarily ‘Ideas’ It’s Raw Material It’s Ingredients It’s FUEL

quot;Things I’ve collected always have relevance at some point later onquot; Georgie Bean, Interior Stylist

Sources to collect from...

©Khoi Vinh observing life




found typography

stuff off t’internet

From: quot;T26 Digital Type Foundryquot; <> Subject: T26 June Font Showcase Date: 2 June 2007 03:57:18 BDT To: Related: comic | cute | decorative | funny Related: comic | cute | inline | outline | sassy | shadow freebies


©DJ Damien: leaflet racks

clothing labels and tags


photos that go wrong

photos using other objects

doodles from your head

...OK, you get the idea...

...except websites!

CATALOG What is your ‘trusted system’?

quot;Designers are magpie-like creatures. If we see a style or approach that we enjoy we’ll absorb some of it, sometimes consciously, sometimes notquot; Michael Johnson, Johnson Banks

your head

the good ol’ sketchbook

the good ol’ sketchbook


box files

Design spongery 2.0...



The ‘Killer App’ for the web-savvy creative sponge... flickr

CREATE How do we use these collections to create stuff?

the fear : a blank piece of paper!

quot;Collecting things stimulates the brain. It helps you think of something fresher. quot; Wieden + Kennedy

Creative Catalysts • Deadlines! • Change of environment - walk/drive • Go to Bed! • Peace & Quiet (go for a wee) • Take a shower • Brainstorming / Mind-mapping

Critique it!

But are these really any better?


I can has moodboard? kthxbye!

© DiskArt™ 1988 a moodboard

another moodboard

Advantages of using moodboards 1. Concentrates on the concept/mood 2. Stimulates conversation with stakeholders 3. Quick to make 4. Clients can make their own!

Spot Design Patterns

“Reuse, recycle, but don’t reinvent the wheel unless necessary” Brian Christiansen, UI Engineering.

“Patterns are optimal solutions to common problems, tossed around a community and are resolved, solutions spontaneously emerge. The best of these rise above the din and become refined until they reach the status of a Design Pattern.” Design Patterns

Sample colours



Finally, a couple of my own examples...

= hicksdesign’s new logo

= open doors student site

quot;Soak up everything, you never know when you're going to need itquot; Jon Hicks

The 3 stages of the Creative Sponge COLLECT! CATALOG! CREATE!

SOAK IT UP! be-a-creative-sponge

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