10 Ways to Stay Creative

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Staying “creative” all the time can sometimes get exhausting. If you aren’t careful you start to pull from the same memory bank and your work can begin to look the same. It is important for us as designers to keep our creativity bank full.

I have compiled a list of things that helps me stay in a creative mindset when everything in life gets to be too much.

< 1 > Pinterest 

This one is probably a given but it can’t not be on the top of my list.

 < 2 > Music (spice it up keep it fresh)

Explore new music to spur on the creativity. I always love to mix up my playlists while I am working.

 < 3 > Design Between Projects (during the dry moment) 

When we aren’t working on a project we think of that as a “break” but now is when you should explore new techniques and learn new things. Who knows you might be inspired and learn something that will help you in further projects plus it is always good to learn new skills in your craft.

 < 4 > Sketch/Draw/Paint

Even if it is just doodling you should always bring to life the ideas in your head. I don’t know about you but every now and then I have a random design pop in my head. I always keep a sketch book with me so I can sketch it out. This will help you keep that creative process and encourages your brain to continue thinking up amazing designs. You never know where a simple sketch might lead.

Draw and/or paint to keep your creative insides alive. There is a part of us that is engaged when we are drawing and painting. As your playing with mixing colors and forming shapes with graphite you keep that part of your brain working and creating.

< 5 > Don’t Overwork Yourself. 

This one is something that I am still working on. I am still working on finding a balance and learning to say no. It is an important thing to find a balance in order to keep the creative juices flowing. Creativity gets stifled when we are overwhelmed with too much on our plates.

< 6 > Eating Healthy/Staying Hydrated/Exercise 

There is nothing worse than getting dizzy or a headache while you are in the middle of a project and your on a timeline trying to get the final product to a client. Staying hydrated and eating healthy can help keep your mind open and all the synapses firing correctly.

We all know thanks to Elle Woods “Endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” Well endorphins also keep that creativity flowing. So lace up those kicks and hit your favorite cardio or weight training program. My favorites are running and zumba!

< 7 > Research/Bookstores

Sometimes just looking things up and learning spawns great ideas. I love to go to bookstores and browse through books (mainly the cover designs) and magazines. Bookstores are great for typography and layout inspiration as well.

< 8 > Travel 

Traveling opens our eyes to things outside of what we know in our own community. I am not saying you have to travel to exotic locations. Going to the next town over can be all you need to spark some creative ideas. Sometimes we have to shut the computer and go outside. So, let’s go explore!

< 9 > Do something fun/Be with the people you love  

Be sure to take breaks and do things for you. Whatever that might be. Hanging out with friends/family. Doing something you love to do. To keep creativity flowing we have to have things that make us happy. From that happiness comes the ability to think creatively.

< 10 > Remember to think Positive

Creativity is in our mind and keeping the mind healthy is one of the most important thing. Keep positive thoughts in mind. Remember you can do anything your mind can dream. If you can think it then you can make it! A friend has a great blog and free download of “Good Vibes” Positive words to think and confess. Read her blog here.

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5 Tips to Help You Design for Yourself

blogtitle-designyourselfMaybe it’s because I know everything inside my mind. #nofilter

Trying to design for yourself and brand your own logo is much harder than designing for someone else. You would think it would be easy, who knows me better than me right? But that is the problem I really know me. All of me, all the things I like, which contradicts each other sometimes. When designing and branding for someone else I am able to see the traits that stick out. What makes them…..them. When I try to turn it around on me there is no filter to see just what stands out. Anyone else feel the same.

So let me share with you some tricks I used to help me design for myself.

<1> Do something.
So often we wait and wait until it is “right” before we actually do something. It is ok to change your mind and redo it later. Knowing that it is changeable in your mind before you start gives a sense of freedom to just do whatever comes and let it evolve. You have to start somewhere or you’ll never get anywhere. (that’s quotable…I probably heard/read that somewhere)

<2> People around you.
The ones best to be able to see what makes you stand out are those that are around you day to day. Ask the people around you how they would describe you. What they would say stands out when they think about you. Ask them “If you were to describe the type of person I am to a stranger what would you say?” Use the words they use to help you pinpoint the look and style that best represents you.

<3> Pinterest.
Look at the things you pin on boards that are just about you. (Not design or client boards because chances are they will be to varied) Look at it and ask yourself does this say “me”? If yes then think for a moment what about it says “you”. Is it the colors? The textures? Fonts? Layout? If you have someone in your life that you know would know you and be able to find images that display “who you are” you could have them pin images on a secret pin board to help you see what others see. I had my cousin pin any image she saw on Pinterest that made her think of me and it really helped me see (in the images) the common thread throughout the images.

<4> Adjectives
Again, ask the people around you to give you the adjectives that would best describe your personality. This is always a good one for me. I use this trick with clients because I find the adjectives really help me see a good picture of the look and feel a person is going for. Hearing the adjectives that people tell you might be just what you need to really put your finger on the look and feel that best suits you.

<5> The Process
Trust the design process. Go through the Design Process just like you would if you were creating a brand for someone else and take all of the above tips to help you guide through. Don’t overthink it. Just go for it.

Comment below and let me know your tips and tricks for designing for yourself? Have you ever tried designing for your own brand? How did you feel during the process? Let me know in the comments below.

Also comment with anything that you would like me to write about. If you have any specific questions about design or otherwise comment below and let me know  (that rhymed 🙂 hehe)

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Who is Emily Jean?

blogtitle-emMe? Oh what a question.

I am a girl that loves great designs. Gets lost for hours in the endless beauty of Pinterest (who doesn’t). I am always double fisting multiple coffees. I don’t think there is ever a time that I am not doing something. I love being involved in things. Anything with creativity involved.

In high school I was set on going to college to study theatre. All I ever wanted was to be on the stage or on the screen. (that is still my top dream) All through school I had a love for fine arts but it took a back seat to acting. In college I found myself looking forward to my art classes more than I ever have before. Started out as a painting major and made my professor sad when I turned to graphic design. I realized if I am going to spend money on something I need to challenge myself and learn something I don’t know. My first year in design school I didn’t even know how to log out of a MAC. (to my defense this was back in early MySpace days, facebook wasn’t even popular yet) When I started design school Mac’s were rarely used by anyone other than creative professionals. That quickly changed.

I loved design. I found myself changing into a more detailed person and dissecting the leading and kerning, layout, design, and color harmonies of everything around me.

I have been a freelance designer now for 4 years. I love the freedom of working with clients and designing for a variety of projects.  Working as a freelancer has allowed me the opportunity to do other things as well. I have been working the last 4 years with my families child care center as a teacher, director and now the business manager. I love the creativity of teaching early childhood education. I hope to share with you some of the things I have learned in my time with the precious little ones.

Currently I am now working, still, as a freelance graphic designer, and Business Manager for Fruitful Ministries. Each day is filled with new things. Life in my world is never dull and never listless. I love my day planner, charts, and calendars.

The best day is hanging out with friends and family talking about and planning new exciting projects. With a cup of coffee in hand of course.

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My Office Wishlist

blogIMG-wishlist-officeI am currently moving into a new office and thinking through a redesign.
Moving into a new office can be overwhelming and exciting. I have compiled a wish list of a few things that I am dreaming of for my redesign for my new office. I started out with a color palette to help guide the redesign and then hit the Inspiration sites. Created a pin board for inspiration. I have shown a few of my favorite pieces that I am wanting for my office. I am loving the pastels lately and I always feel more inspired to be creative in a bright environment so I am opting for white walls. I love the contrast of the black and white with the pastels. The clean geometric pattern I think will create a nice clean environment for a work space.

What are your favorite pieces in your work space? Do you have anything in your office that you can’t work without?

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Stop and Listen

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Have you ever had one of those moments when it just hits you and you realize that there is actually a world out there with different people going through things you have never been through, or having different opinions about life than you? *GASP*

It is a healthy thing to constantly be reminded that there is more than just the opinions we have and the view we see through our two eyes.
When you can sit down and have coffee with someone and listen to stories of things they have been through you are being enriched with more than you realize. I think too many people in the world these days are too concerned with their own life situations and concerns that we don’t take the time to stop and listen to someone else. Really getting to know what they think and how they think. We can learn so much from each other and possibly be enlightened with new ideas because we all have a unique perspective.

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I think the culture we live in and the technology constantly increasing has caused humanity to be so overwhelmed and overstimulated to the point we find it hard to actually stop and just listen to one another.

I personally have a brain that probably functions on 3 pathways. I am constantly thinking all the time about 3 different things at the same time. I am not sure if that is normal, but I can tell you I never get bored. Because of my constant thinking I have to be sure to discipline my brain and make it stop thinking about the massive to do list on my iPhone and really listen and get interested in the person across the table.

I am challenging you to really try to stop and listen the next time you are with someone. Ask questions and really try to learn where that person came from, what do they think about life around us. It’s eye opening at times to hear the stories other people have experienced and it really helps you to understand who they are and why they do the things they do. Relationships with one another are the most important things we do as humans. The best way to build strong relationships is to be able to put aside what you think and feel and really listen to each other to understand each other. Humbling ourself enough to really listen.

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Art Rules

I can remember in art school I would get so frustrated when I was really excited and proud of a project, then I would receive the notes and grade. I would get notes explaining certain art “rules” that I broke but somewhere in those notes would be positive responses about the overall piece. I understand there must be basic guidelines and rules to help mold a young artist. But, sometimes rules can be broken to create something amazing.
The way I see it you must learn all of the rules and master them before you can push the boundaries to create something new and exciting.
Let’s look at Picasso for an example. He was an artist that spent years mastering the art of realism. He was able to create amazing realistic drawings and paintings at a really young age. What I believe is that when you are able to master the art rules and learn the elements and principles of art then you can veer from that and begin to create original works of art.
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To the left is an example of Picaso’s early work “The Barefoot Girl” a work that he created in his studies of figure drawing and below it is a later painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon“. This shows how he could master the art of figure drawing and from there start creating a completely new form of art that has been studied for decades.
There are guidelines to art that helps us understand what a good composition can be. Learn these rules and guidelines and let them do their job and guide you. Don’t let them keep you in a box limited from creating something beautiful.
If you are currently in art or design school hang in there. Learn all the elements and principles of design and they will help make you a more well rounded artist. When you graduate you will have a good basis to stand on to create something from within.
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My Top 5 Inspiration Sites

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Inspiration is a key to an creative project. It is one of the first steps in completing a design project for me. Check out my blog on my creative process to see where my “inspiration” section fits in to the mix.

 

< 1 > Pinterest.com – does this really need to be said? The best source of inspiration. I will often times just look over my own boards and revisit some of my favorites that I have forgotten. Or I will go through the search tab for specific inspiration. This is good site also for just overall inspiration.Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 11.16.43 AM

 

< 2 > dribbble.com – This site is fantastic for specifically searching for design inspiration. Using the tags you can search through other designers work to see what the going trends are and spark some ideas. We need each other, collaboration is a great way to stay inspired and creative. Dribbble was a great invention, whoever came up with it did a great service for the design community.

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< 3 > siteinspire.com  –  I love browsing through this site when I come across a web design job. You can narrow your search to look for specific design styles. All of the websites for inspiration here are great and you are assured that you will have plenty of design inspirations.

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< 4 > designspiration.com – This site is a great site to scroll through for inspiration.  There are also categories to help narrow the search.

 

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< 5 > logofaves.com – Logo designs are a very important part of the whole branding process of a company. It can be overwhelming to try and find inspiration for logo designs. This is a great resource for those logo designing projects.

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< 6 > abduzeedo.com – This is a graphic design blog with great resources for inspirations as well as tutorials. This is a great site to check out.

 

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< 7 > smashingmagazine.com – This is also a great Design blog with a huge supply of resources.

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< 8 > theinspirationgrid.com – This website has a beautiful grid layout (hence the name) with large list of categories of inspiration.

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< 9 > Creativemarket.com – This site is great for inspiration. They also have weekly free downloads. Visit their Facebook page and they have extra Facebook exclusive free downloads.

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< 10 > google.com – This might be a strange addition to the list but I find it helpful when I am working on a specific project to use adjectives (usually the adjectives I ask my clients in their pre-project questionnaire). When working on something specific it is nice to type in keywords and see what comes up that might spawn some out of the box creative thinking.

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Kimberly Alana – Color Board

It is always amazing to work with clients that are friends and creative fun people that are creative out of the box thinkers. Working with Kimberly has been amazing.colorboard-kimAlana

Above is the mood inspiration board for her rebranding. She is an amazing talented musician and singer. She was looking to create a brand and identify for her music and called me and asked me to help her out and it has been such a pleasure! She is such a fun bubbly person full of energy and creative thinking. She also has this amazing girly rocker side to her. My goal was to blend the two bringing the edgy rock to the fun girly side. I am please with the overall product.
Stay tuned for her logo designs as well as her full branding page.
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Office Design Inspiration

Designing for a new office can be fun and also overwhelming there are so many things that you can choose from. So many styles, color palettes, ideas, and designs. Starting with Pinterest and looking at inspiration my “Office Inspiration Board” quickly filled up with ideas some were similar and some were completely different then the others. I began to get confused so I decided to create a mood board just like I do for my clients. It really helped to see the overall look that I was wanting for my office.
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Something I have noticed, attempting to redesign and decorate your office while you are also continuing to work in it day by day can be challenging. IF you are able to quit working until the redesign is done, that would be the best option. But it has definitely strengthened my patience and sharpening my focus on the tasks. I can tell that your environment has an effect on your work and so it is important to make your surroundings yours. If you don’t have an office and you are in a work environment with cubicles or small workspaces. Find a way to add a little something that adds your personality to it.

I think something important to think about while designing for your office is that this is a place that you are meant to work in. That makes the design process much different than a bedroom or a living space. Especially for a creative career you have to think of what designs, color schemes, patterns, and layout would continually inspire you to be creative and productive.

What are items that you use to personalize your workspace? Do you have any tips you have found that help you when redesigning your office space? what do you find helps you to be more productive?

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