A testament to literal and metaphorical fresh air for creative thinking.

I could start by rattling off a myriad of scientific evidence that supports the act of getting outside to clear the cobwebs. But it should be no surprise that the old nagging voice of our mothers to put down the Nintendo and get some fresh air has further implications from a proverbial standpoint than a neurological one.

When I first began working as a designer and I would get stuck, I felt the need to conform to what I noticed around me: heads down, cranking out work, scrapping ideas, starting over — but essentially staying glued to the machine that made the things while racing against the clock on the wall. Maybe it’s my knack for cabin fever, or an early inkling for enjoying the outdoors as a child, but that stuck to the seat methodology has never produced results for me. Over the years, I’ve come to visualize this moment in my mind as a big red ‘Reset’ button. When it’s time for a new point of view, getting outside your space, your mind, or your comfort zone can help create a flow of ideas. …

For people who hate interview tips.

I’ll be the first to admit that I cringe at the sight of any advice article related to the job interview. Most often, they encourage an oddly specific list of ‘tricks’ that touch on psychology, body language, or some other form of power struggle manipulation. Even though perfecting your handshake may impress someone, it doesn’t really give any indication of who you are as a person. To that point, I can’t remember a time when I’ve made an effort to note the unprecedented grip and positioning of someone’s greeting hand.

Having been on both sides of the design interview fence, I’ve taken the liberty to compile a quick list of simple things to remember or keep in mind as you set out on that first awkward voyage to the land of employment. …

A low intensity approach to generating ideas.

The struggle to crack a good idea in any creative endeavour is a process that scholars, designers, writers and philosophers have been attempting to synthesize for years. I’ve read books with opposing views, which inevitably made things more confusing than I cared to absorb. If there is one thing that pushes creativity away, it’s complication. Our brains have an interesting way of being at our will, but also totally out of our control.

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Illustrations by Christopher DeLorenzo

As a designer, I’ve been thrown into the mix of “solve this problem” only to be met with a wall of minutiae, specs, wants, needs, and limitations. Ultimately, the hope in this process is that all of the supplied raw information becomes inspiration which in form leads to the big idea. But a lot of the time, things just become prettier through visual design, and the problem itself remains unsolved. …


Levon Travis Sharrow

Philosophies on creativity and design thinking. leeevon.com

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