How To Be Creative

Mac Magleby recently retired from his post as Professor of Illustration at the U of U. Upon being asked in an interview with Susen Sawatzki of AdNews whether he’d done a “last lecture”, he presented some pages he had been handing out to his graduating classes since 1987.

The first, titled, “Creativity-How to be Creative” goes as follows:

Creativity is the act of bringing into existence that which is unknown, uncommon, or unexpected. Being creative is risky; however, where the risks are great, the rewards are greater! To be creative, you need to be comfortable feeling lost and in deep trouble. You need to enjoy absurd, contradictory, outrageous possibilities. You need to be a lover of exploring uncharted territory, and, most of all, you need enough self-confidence to fail.

Another sheet makes a comparison.

How To Be Creative:

Do preliminary research into the problem. Get a thorough background, understand the nature of the problem. Work in a restful environment. Know you can do it. Have faith the idea will come. Minimize interruptions. Relax, let ideas start to flow. Walk around. Wash your hands in warm water. Go with the flow. Add some stimulus, look at inspirational sources—books, photos, nature, etc. Join ideas together. Ask, “What if…?” Use free association. Let creativity take from naturally. Start with simple, build to complex. Don’t force it. Get away. Relax. Take another direction. Change surroundings. Add new stimulation. Use other sources as a springboard. Let the idea expand and improve. Build on that idea. Refine the idea, test it, and if it works, go with it. If it doesn’t work, reject it and repeat the process. Work hard. Don’t give up!

How Not to Be Creative:

Work in a hectic environment. Start working right away. Be negative. Tell yourself that it can’t be done. Stare at a blank sheet of paper. Get all uptight. Worry about job security. Sit in one place. Dress in a suit and tie. Sit up straight an be rigid. Keep those muscles tight. Work in a vacuum. Use no outside resources. Sit in one place. Force the idea to come. Make the problem complex. Reject ideas. Fear new, unproven ideas. Don’t take risks. Throw up your hands. Quit.

posted by Rick Moore on Tuesday, Jul 15, 2008
tagged with mcray, magleby