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Everybody keep me asking about by creative process, so I´ve made this graphic to try to explain it better. This graphic tries to explain how idea… Read More
Everybody keep me asking about by creative process, so I´ve made this graphic to try to explain it better. This graphic tries to explain how ideas are formed inside my mind, even before touching a pen or paper. Read Less
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The three cycles of subjective ideation

Everybody keep me asking about by creative process, so I´ve made this graphic to try to explain it better.This graphic tries to explain how ideas are formed inside my mind, even before touching a pen or paper.Click on the image to make it larger, so you can read it.
All right! Now I´ll explain it in every detail, starting from the bottom.

The feet/root

1-Every design starts motivated by something, when someone has a creative essence within. This creative essence is very often connected to relieving anxiety. A design might be motivated, in a basic level, by an independent source (inside) or by an external briefing (outside, client).
2- Then, with an active reason to create something, I start seeking inspiration. If I´m creating motivated by an independent/inside source, my creative starting point very commonly starts from an insight, or an early notion of what this idea should be transformed, how it´s supposed to be translated to the real, tangible world. If I´m creating motivated by an external source, I usually try finding a central theme for the design, which must fit like a glove to the clients/brand  identity/philosophy.
3-Now I have a vague notion of what this idea should become, what´s the story it´s supposed to tell. Every good product must be constructed over a good foundation, substructure. I call it an Embryo Idea. It´s like and universal intangible material, which may be transformed in everything, literally.

The torso/body

Now it´s time to find an empty flask, where I could pour the Embryo Idea and give it a justified form, shape. The liquid (Embryo Idea) must fit perfectly inside this flask, without overflowing.
Mental Sketching:
Is, obviously, the process of using the full power of your mind to generate every possible form and shape for the idea without touching a pencil or paper. It´s not easy to teach your brain to do that correctly, but once you get used to it, it becomes a very powerful tool. Let´s say that, if you are a very good physical sketcher, you can do  20 drawings in 10 minutes. If you´re a very good Mental Sketcher, you can draw 1.000.000.000 possibilities in the same 10 minutes, just as an example.
Teachers and companies overate the physical sketching process a lot, and they are partially right, because they can´t see inside your mind, so they need to see something to evaluate. But at this part of the creative process, only you need to know what you´re doing. Physically sketching your ideas will delay and limit your creative process and potential a lot.
So give up on those old habits and start exploring the real, limitless blank canvas, which is your mind. Leave those nice and fancy sketches for later, just to impress your teachers or clients.
Oh! How does Mental Sketching works? Almost like meditation! Close your eyes, find a relaxing position, concentrate on the Embryo Idea and let the thoughts run freely.
Unconscious Maturation:
When you just can´t shape the Embryo Idea the way you want, you are living a creative crisis.
Don´t worry! When creativity becomes a profession, it usually happens from time to time. The secret to get out of it unharmed is just to forget it. Don´t overestimate a creative crisis, or it will become a monster.
Unconscious Maturation is a process that I use to reverse this situation to my advantage.
When you just can´t develop an Embryo Idea properly, do just like computers do: Let it work by itself on the background. Your unconscious will eventually find a perfect solution for it!
The secret is get used to practice an exercise that I call Think/Forget.
Start thinking about the Embryo Idea several times a day (without really worrying about it) and, almost at the same time you think about it, forget it. With practice, you will start thinking and forgetting about something at the same perceivable space of time.
When you practice the Think/Forget, you are just fooling you conscious, making it believe that the idea has really been forgotten, but your unconscious, perceiving that you´re thinking a lot about this subject, gives it a hight priority classification, and starts working on it 24/7.
Practice it specially before going to bed.
Middle Insight:
The middle insight is just an insight that happens in the middle of the subjective creative process. It´s like a bonus that comes from my mind from time to time, and makes me very happy! :)
Background Queuing System (BQS):
The BQS is completely rooted on the Unconscious Maturations process and it´s the key to keep having good ideas all the time.
When you have several Embryo Ideas, most people work on one idea at a time. This is absolutely a waste of creative potential.
If you´re working on an Embryo Idea right now, do the Think/Forget exercise with the other Embryo Ideas several times a day. Your unconscious will work on them frenetically  and will try to connect every fragment of inspirational material that you collect from your everyday life to one of them.
I usually can´t work on more than seven Embryo Ideas at the same time, but this number already give me the guarantee that I´ll keep my creative motor running at full speed.
If I have more than seven Embryo Ideas, the rest goes to the white board, shaped as keywords.
White Board Key Words Fixation (WKF):
The name says pretty much all about it. Just get yourself a white board and write down every extra Embryo Idea you have, summarizing them in three or four keywords each.
Keep this white board on a place that you´ll naturally look at it a couple of times a day, but don´t worry very much about reading it all the time. Make it part of your environment, so you don´t even notice it.
Your unconscious will started working on those key words at an even deeper level.

The Head


Now you have some initial formal possibilities.
Mental resting:
If you´ve done a nice work until now, you might be tired and need some rest, to replenish your creative fuel.
Take your time and do something you like. Personally, I like playing music, watching documentaries, reading books, working on DIY projects...
Conscious Maturation:
Once you are ready, start thinking aggressively about the initial formal possibilities of the Embryo Idea. Think A LOT about everything practical. Ask yourself questions and try to find a reason for every possible formal details. Trust your heart, because it will tell you when you´re done. Pay attention to chills, because they are a very reliable sign that you´re going on the right way.
Late Insight:
The ultimate gift from the creative Gods!
You know when you´ve received it when you have one of those "why I didn´t think about it before" moments.
Sometimes it might be just a consequence of the whole process. Sometimes it just might happen in mysterious ways. Who knows...
Obvious Solution/Relief:
Now that the hardest part of the work is done, it´s time to make some models, physical sketches, 3D renderings, material and production choices or  whatever technique you´re used to see how your solution will behave in the real world and to make it feasible.
All that anxiety is gone...Everything starts to get really boring again, so it´s time get it back and start it all over again.
Thanks for reading! Please, drop me a note if you have some comments or questions.
Cheers,
Rafael Morgan.


Ps: This method really works for me. It´s not a scientific methodology and might not work for everyone. However, feel free to try it. You´ll might have some good surprises! ;)
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