How to be more creative: 5 Tips from a graphic designer

By Melanie Schumacher

05/27/20

Creativity: the vague and elusive goal.

Creativity is defined as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.” 

Sounds easy enough, right?

As many of us have experienced, being “creative” is not as easy, or as fun as it sounds. So how do we become more creative? PRACTICE. Like riding a bike, learning a language, or any other new skill, creativity happens with practice. Over time, a snowball effect emerges: the more you create, the more you train your mind to be creative.

So, what are five specific ways to make creativity a practice?

1. Make

Make art of any kind, in any medium. Doodle. It could be free flowing scribbles similar to Zentangles, or start from a list of subjects. You can find drawing word prompts to jumpstart ideas of what to draw (or paint, or sculpt).

2. Move

Exercise can help you be more creative by getting your heart, blood and brains pumping. Research has shown that exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for emotions, memory and learning — which all aid in creativity.

3. Dream

Daydreaming, or letting the mind wander, can lead to surprising solutions by combining seemingly unrelated ideas. Participating in mundane, simple tasks, such as walking and driving, can aid in letting your mind wander and spur subconscious thoughts.

4. See

Creating collages or vision boards can help you process your thoughts visually. Vision boards also boost productivity — working as a visual reference of your goals.

5. Write

Writing in a free-flowing style can be like doodling, but with words. One-word writing prompts are a great way to help you find a place to start writing. You can also just make lists. The idea is to just get your ideas — in words — on paper.

Keep practicing these five ideas. Not only can you increase your creativity, you might even improve your mental well-being and reduce stress.

Maybe you’ll become a better problem-solver. Or maybe you’ll even learn a new skill that’ll spark enjoyment and curiosity in other aspects of your life.