What Fosters Creativity And What Stifles It

| By Grace Ricci

At Reuben Rink we’re charged with coming up with ideas every day. We plan, create and execute for a diverse set of clients. How do we draw inspiration and keep our ideas fresh? What happens when we hit a brick wall? Check out how our Reuben Rink Creatives foster creativity – and what stifles it.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Linda (Creative Director): My greatest inspiration comes from pop culture, including TV shows, movies, music, museums and artwork. I also look at what my peers are doing online or in publications, like Communication Arts.
Keith (Senior Art Director): I love editorial magazines and look toward those for color and font trends.
Jay (Digital Art Director): Inspiration can come in many forms such as packaging, architecture, industrial design, artwork of various types and even nature.
Randy (Content Development Director): Basically, everything I’ve ever read, heard or seen fuels inspiration. That’s why it is good to have a broad spectrum of knowledge.


Do you use the web to gather ideas?

Linda: Besides following blogs from industry leaders and designers I like, I use Pinterest. When we have a new project, I create a board that houses a collection of ideas, colors, fonts, etc.

Keith: Yes, I use the web to look at different photography styles and love to explore how they evolve.


Keith's Idea BoxBrainstorming sessions and kick-off meetings: Do they help?

Keith: Brainstorming helps generate ideas, especially in a team environment. It gets everyone excited to share different thoughts. The ideas grow from there.

Jay: My best ideas come through collaboration and brainstorming with others or at moments when I wasn’t necessarily focused strictly on the project at hand.


When figuring out solutions for clients, what general info helps?

Linda: If we are working with a new client, I always ask for examples of what they have been doing previously, and what they liked or hated about that work.

Jay: Understanding the client’s objectives and brand is key for any marketing effort, regardless of the medium. While you don’t want to restrict your creative thought process, you do have to work within certain boundaries and requirements.


What causes a “design block or writing block”? How do you handle it?

Linda: You can get stuck when you overthink your design. I handle it like a jigsaw puzzle; if you put it down and come back to it later, it’ll usually be clear. I sometimes reread the creative brief again before sitting back down.

Keith: Sometimes it’s important to sketch out ideas instead of going straight to the computer. It keeps me from being in too big of a hurry and lets me concentrate on the process.

Jay: Design block comes in many forms, such as unresolved technical issues, a specific timeframe that dictates your tactics, or variety of other external influences. If you’re truly “mired in the mud”, a small success can give you a little boost that frees you mentally and helps you re-address the challenge.

Randy: I go back to the basics. Start with a clean slate and try to look at the challenge from a totally different perspective.


Do you have a way of organizing creative ideas that come up?

Keith: I have an old briefcase that I keep different dimensional objects in, like boxes, tins, and brochure formats. When someone in the office is looking for a new idea, I’ll bring it in for them to go through.

Jay: I keep a Moleskin sketchpad handy everywhere I go. It helps to get the ideas down on paper, even if it’s just a general concept. My sketchbook has become a filing cabinet of ideas over the years. I usually provide enough details to convey the train of thought and flesh the initial concept out with notes or a sketch, to make it easy to come back to later.


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