I have mentioned in previous blogs that my background as an Art Director and my passion for Interior Design share a lot of the shame fundamentals. A while ago I had the opportunity to spend a day with Alexandra Taylor, the Joint Creative Director and former Head of Art at Saatchi & Saatchi on a masterclass of Art Direction and I was awed by her talent, her creativity and immense knowledge.
When I’m working on a project and feel a bit confused or uninspired I often go back to these notes to regroup my mind. Today I’m sharing with you these 10 tips with the hope that they will enhance your creative capabilities when you are working on a creative project. It doesn’t mean you need to be an Interior Designer for these to apply to you; I think the thinking process and tips can apply to any creative job!
So let’s start, shall we?
1. Perfect your idea
One of the most common mistakes is rushing into the nitty gritty of design without interrogating the concept. Finding the perfect idea requires a solid investment of time and energy. I would always argue that finessing the idea is the most important thing, not figuring out how to execute it.
2. Know your clients
If you are working on a client project. The best way to get your concept right is to learn as much about your clients as possible – they are the source of your information and, ultimately, inspiration. Find out their needs, their history, what’s worked so far (and what hasn’t) and their vision for the future. And always request detailed briefs – that’s your launchpad. All too often, you’ll only find out what they really had in mind after you’ve delivered a first draft, so try to encourage that information out of them before you start your work. Sometimes, asking what they definitely don’t want can be more effective than trying to focus on what they do want.
3. Work with a great team
Sharing work and feedback is part of the creative process. Try to find fellow creatives that are happy to help you in your project. I always think that people from different creative backgrounds can bring something new to the table. You don’t have to follow every single advice you get, if your gut feeling says that you are right, then go for it! Trust your talent!
4. Start with your weakest point
Let’s say your client has a terrible painting that they cherish that needs to be part of your design and you’re unable to change – start with that. If you have a weak element that you need to add to your composition, just work with it. It’s never going to change so you might as well deal with it. For example, you could get some colour reference from the painting to your design so it can tie all together. If you reframe it will it make a difference? Consider all your options and I’m sure you will be able to make it work!
5. Find your style
Clients will trust you if you are true to yourself and have a specific strong style that comes through your previous work (even if it’s just school projects). It’s kind of a win win situation as you will get to work with projects that you are feeling confident and at ease with and your client will be happy to trust you. If you have seen my work so far you will get a feel for my style: minimalistic, rustic and light with a Mediterranean touch. Imagine if I had to work on a clients house that has a love for French Baroque interior design, I wouldn’t know where to start…!
6. Size is everything
Make sure your proportions are correct. Measure and measure and measure again everything before suggesting your ideas to your client. If you have found a gorgeous 3 seater sofa that won’t fit, what’s the point?
7. Be comfortable about accidents
You’ll find amazing things can happen by accident, so embrace them. Exploring concepts that are outside of your comfort zone can throw up ideas you’d never have thought of if you hadn’t wandered into unchartered territory.
8. Steal, beg, borrow
OK, maybe just that last one. Borrowing is inspiration by another name. A concept that’s been overdone won’t help you to get noticed, but by all means borrow a good idea and make it your own.
9. Get out now!
When you lose your inspiration, or you’re feeling stuck – and it is ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ – step away from your work and do something different. Go to an exhibition, watch a film, visit a bookstore or take a walk. Your inspiration will come again when you least expect it, so don’t try and force things by staying in front of your screen.
10. Explain yourself
Take time to explain your concept to the client in as much detail as possible – your idea and the thought process behind its execution – so they understand why you did what you did. And most importantly of all, love what you do. Passion and enthusiasm are hard to resist.
At the end of the day, there are times as an Interior Designer when you have to trust your gut instinct – you will inherently know when something is working or not. If it’s not feeling right then ditch it. An original idea is hard to judge because nobody’s done it before. Don’t slow yourself down by battling against something that isn’t jelling. Instead use that momentum to plough straight into a new concept.
I hope you find these tips helpful and I would love to hear about your creative process. Is there anything you are struggling with and how do you work around it? Use the comments section below and let’s talk 🙂
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