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Devshop Blog

3 results returned for "Creative Block"

Wednesday, Dec 7th, 2016

Paul D'Angelo

Do You Even Blog?

Blogging. Why on earth do we do it? Do we really have THAT much interesting information to share? Is it really necessary to constantly bombard the internet with more hot takes, insights, and opinions from "experts"? Why does our marketing BOSS Lizzie constantly harass us for new posts, even though I literally just wrote one like, 4 months ago? Does it actually help our business?

While the quality of the content and the resulting noise from so many people oversharing every thought and opinion is a topic for a much lengthier discussion that we can tackle in another post, the act of consistently posting new content is extremely beneficial, and you should all be so lucky to have a star like Lizzie on your team! (I swear she didn't pay me to say any of this.) Posting new content improves your search rankings when bots crawl and index your site, and keywords in your posts can help drive traffic as well.

In addition to the direct benefits, content plays an important role in giving your brand a voice, and can help solidify yourself as a thought leader in your industry, assuming you are on the right side of the above comment regarding quality content and not just noise. So how do you manage to put out consistent insights without recycling the same ideas, wrapping them in different buzz words and adding to the noise? First, create a realistic schedule, and then put a system in place such that you will have a backlog for when people miss their deadlines (it's inevitable). Next, have people write about things they are NOT familiar with, but want to learn about. Sharing your own learning experiences is a great way to reinforce your own knowledge and ensures the content will be easily digestible for most readers.

Finally, embrace the process! Writing content can be a tedious, stressful experience that is to be avoided whenever possible, but it doesn't have to be. Too often the day to day grind of our jobs (and lives) make it difficult for us to continue pursuing knowledge and learning, and I personally think that the role technology has had in putting virtually unlimited information at our fingertips has actually made us less knowledgeable, but we can save that for another discussion. Use the chore of writing for your company as an opportunity to explore new ideas. Who knows, you may learn something! At the very least you will make Lizzie happy, and that's definitely worth it.

Tuesday, Sep 27th, 2016

Andrea Torres

In The Mood to Design

Getting in the mood to begin a creative process can be hard. You have a million ideas running through your head, and you need to narrow them down to create something concrete. Staying focused is key, especially when you are in the early stages of a web design project.

The process of researching and collecting design references is an important part of a collaborative creative process.

To get myself out of my head and into the heart of the design, I start with some form of a moodboard or style tile.

A moodboard is a collection of like minded design examples, organized to showcase a set goal or task. It creates the tone of the project, guides the team throughout the process, and supports those who are just joining in or working with a brand they are unfamiliar with.

A moodboard paints the vision you may see for the project, while bridging the gap to what goals the client wants to achieve for their audience. It's often difficult to see the wireframes or blueprints of a website without getting overwhelmed by additional details. Using a moodboard helps client and designer move forward with the design stages because they both have a visual understanding and can see the story of how this creative process came to be.

Personally, when I begin gathering inspiration for a project, I look for some of the following elements that relate to the product or design I'm creating:
1. Typography
2. Iconography
3. Color
4. Imagery
5. Patterns/textures

Once you have gathered all your elements, your next step should be to get organized. This is especially necessary if you are presenting to your clients. This will ensure you nailed all your key points and must haves for your users. It can also support you in speeding through your workflow.

The benefit of moodboarding is that the ideas are free flowing. Don't be afraid to take a risk. At this point, it's not the final design, so if you and the client don't see eye to eye they can be altered easily. This saves you time and money on your designs.

As the client begins to have an understanding of the theme, and the concept gets approved, your moodboard now becomes the foundation to your brand guide and projects goals. This process helps avoid confusion and surprises as you move through the design process. This way, everyone is a little less moody!

There are a wide variety of tools one can use to create moodboards if you want to move away from InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop.

Gomoodbaord: http://www.gomoodboard.com/
Moodstream: http://moodstream.gettyimages.com
Musespeak: http://www.musepeak.com
Moodshare: http://www.moodshare.co
Olioboard: http://olioboard.com
Invision: https://www.invisionapp.com/
Canva: https://www.canva.com

Wednesday, Jun 25th, 2014

Tea Ho

Three Tricks to Overcoming a Creative Block

Before I started doing client work, I thought creativity was something that just happened to you. Creativity was a butterfly that landed on your shoulder when you weren't looking. When I started doing client work, I discovered that I didn't have the luxury of time to wait for that butterfly to land on my shoulder. I had deadlines, and I was expected to just have butterflies on hand.

I've found some things help me smash my creative block.

1. Create a mind map
Do this with just simple pen and paper. I put the main concept in the center. A broad topic allows for wider range of connections.

Then, using free association, I start listing out words that I think connect to the main topic. Do this without judging. Just put thoughts down onto paper. Let the ideas flow.

Don't be afraid to branch off from the main topic if needed. Use concise words. I personally find nouns help me most with imagery.

Next, I go back and circle words that I find particularly compelling, or that I feel could fit the topic I am working with.

2. Research & find inspiration
After creating a mind map, I select one or two words or topics I want to work with. For instance, for my last project, I was creating a polling website. Through mind mapping, I decided to do a political theme.

I researched political websites, news sites, looked up infographics. I gathered images that I found and put them in a folder on my computer as easy reference.

3. Make the worst thing you can think of
Creative blocks come, I think, not from a lack of inspiration, but from a lack of commitment due to perfectionist tendencies or a fear of failure. We are surrounded by inspiration, but until we put pen to paper, cursor to screen, we can't synthesize our sources of inspiration and our own ideas. Often times, the first thing we make isn't the thing we're going to deliver, but for some reason, we always expect it to be. However, the first thing we make can help get our creative juices flowing and help us build out ideas for the next thing.

If you're still completely stuck, instead of pressuring yourself to make something perfect, give yourself the freedom to make the most ridiculous, worst, cheesiest version of the thing you need to make. Have a little fun with it. Chances are, you'll inspire yourself from the process, or at the very least, take off that pressure to make something perfect. When you're not judding your work before you've even created it, you open yourself up to ideas and possibilities.