So you are feeling a bit creative and are ready to sit down and punch out some designs, eh? What works for me might not work for you, however, this article can hopefully offer you a friendly kick start should you get stuck.


1. Getting started.
1. 准备开始设计。

So where do you start? If you are like me, work, family, friends, and the daily grind often times takes a hefty toll on your creative side. So how do I get around that? Keep a sketchbook or notepad handy at all times. It is a good idea to sketch our ideas or jot down notes as they come to mind. For example, say you are in a conversation with a friend and an idea comes to mind. Jot it down on a notepad to develop at a later time. An extreme for some would be to carry your camera with you to various places. Take random shots at work, on your way home, or at the store. You might get some funny looks in the process but the outcome is well worth it. Use these notes, sketches, and photos to your advantage. Never lose track of a great idea.


2. Do you have something to say?
2. 你手头上有完备的信息吗?

One area that I have tried to improve upon is the creation of meaningless graphics. When sitting down to develop a personal image, I first establish a theme or message for that image. Rather than sit in front of your computer screen being stared down by a blank canvas in Photoshop, it is better to enter the battle armed. Arm yourself with a theme, perhaps something from one of your notes. When I start off without an idea, searching through stock photos or previous creations, I rarely come up with anything worthwhile. Building on one of your ideas is the better path to take.


3. Power in the music.
3. 音乐的魅力。

I have found music as a great source of inspiration. Not necessarily the lyrics to a song, but more importantly, the mood that the music places me in. Music draws certain embedded emotions out from their comfort zone and places themin the forefront. Use this to your creative advantage. Try listening to new music, there are more play-lists on the internet than free AOL CD's in the mail right now so finding new music should not be difficult.


4. Exploration.
4. 探索。

Explore what else is "out there" in the design world. By exploring, you will find new sources of creative inspiration. For example, there are numerous bulletin boards available where users post their creations. Find a couple of people that you admire and keep an eye on them. I have discovered that by examining someone else's work new ideas of my own have come to the surface and I am able to start working. It is important for me to look at all types of art and not to focus on viewing one style. Keep your eyes and your mind open.


5. Environment.
5. 环境

Get a change of pace. Take a walk. Visit a pet store. Change a daily habit. "Look" around you. In my opinion, artists see the world differently than others. So it is vital that artists see as much as they can, taking in as much as possible. Many times new ideas come to mind just by talking an hour walk later in the evening.


6. Pleasing everyone.
6. 让每个人都能感受快乐

This is impossible. You will never be able to please everyone so do not even attempt it. Who do you design for? That should be your primary goal. If the work is something personal, then what matters most is if you are happy with it. If the work is for a client, then you must put their wants and needs before your own. Should you worry about what every single person says about your work, it will drive you out of your mind. For example, say you post your work on a bulletin board and someone absolutely rips it apart. Realize that some people are outright negative and childish in all that they do, so focusing on those morons is not recommended. Pay attention to any and all constructive critique offered and take it into consideration. Art is subjective so many might not "get" what your goal was. However, consider their suggestion and ask yourself if it really would help your goal.


7. Take a break.
7. 休息一下。

You cannot design 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. Take it from me, you will get burned out faster than you might think. Enjoy your life and do not plan your life around your Photoshop schedule. Granted, Photoshop is more of a hobby for me, so if your hobby is design, then I expect you to spend more time with it. However, some designers do it for a living and it is important for them, and everyone else, to take their eyes off the screen, at least for a second or two.


Hopefully the above tips can help you along in your creative process. As I said before, what works for me might not work for you, however, you never know what you might be missing by not trying something new.

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