How to Think Outside the Box While Designing



As creatives, we're constantly asked to 'think outside the box' but have you ever stopped to wonder the 'what', 'where' and 'how' of the phrase?


The general definition of being creative is to be imaginative, inventive, experimental, original and more importantly, to be unconventionally artistic. In other words, to be creative is to embody the unimaginable - to be the antithesis of clichés so to speak. To think outside the box would require individuals to think beyond the constraints of their work and to explore outside their current state of design or mind. In order to do so, boundaries will have to be pushed and limitations will have to be challenged.


Outside the traditional modes of researching and collaborating, studies have shown that designers with a more intuitive and holistic approach is less burdened by restrictions during the design process. According to Ian Kitajima (TEDx speaker and author of 'Design Thinking'), the key to that lies in an individual's ability to develop a highly flexible but critical frame of mind in addition to trusting their own creative instincts.


In other words, creatives must learn to have an interchangeable point of view by allowing themselves to zoom in and out at various stages. They must also be highly intuitive when it comes to their own designing process.


Sounds difficult? Not when you break it down in these few ways.


Start by asking 'what if' and 'why' every step of your design process. It's important to not get wrapped up in your approach especially when you're creatively stuck.


Shift your perspective by refocusing on something else - this could be anything and everything! From watching a new tv show, listening to music, going for a stroll, eating your favourite meal or even window shopping... you get the gist.


Still stuck? Speak to someone new or different and ask them how they would approach the same design issue. Don't be afraid to sketch, draw or doodle ideas based off of new inspirations.


Get playful and view it through the eyes of a child. After all, impractical and even silly ideas can sometimes evolve into magnificent designs.


Let your creativity flow by observing and reimagining your surroundings. Imagine a pencil for instance. Kept vertically, all that it appears is a straight form but if two lines were to be drawn on the upper right, upper left, bottom and right it no longer remains in its simple pencil form but rather a man.


Perhaps you’d rather get inspired by nature? Allow yourself to be immersed in its many forms and textures. Feel the rough textures of a tree bark or grass, enjoy the abstract patterns on it and translate those sensations onto a canvas.


Or better yet, become your own user by stepping into the shoes of who you are designing for. Learning to give yourself constructive criticism and implementing new changes through feedback is one of the most effective tools to developing new ideas.


Thinking outside the box is to be able to effectively look at the mundane and turn it into inspiration for art.

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