By Jena Valenzuela
“Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain whether you’re inspired or not.” – Octavia E. Butler
Get It Done
This statement cannot be more true of creative work for clients. In creating countless marketing collaterals for a variety of clients on a deadline, I can’t always wait for inspiration to strike. Sometimes the work just has to get done.
Working on personal projects can be a lot of fun, especially since I can wait for the right inspiration to come along. I can set my own goals for what I want to have done when and this allows me a more flexible timeframe than what I have for client work.
But of course, clients have their own needs and wants. And as a full service firm, we must deliver on these needs to the best of our abilities, with or without a stroke of inspiration.
Sometimes Just Starting Can Help
Rather than sitting around complaining of the amount of work that needs to get done, a good start can really help inspire me. Unfortunately, as a student I find myself sitting around and complaining about the work I need to do almost as often as I find myself actually doing to work. But for clients, there is no time to complain!
Even a really crappy sketch can push me in the right direction. And collaboration is key! Brainstorming with my creative team really helps get my creative juices flowing and before we know it, we have a plan and the caffeine jitters.
I absolutely geek out over colors and fonts, so sometimes just a good browse through Adobe’s Typekit is enough to get my ideas flowing. And grabbing colors from a photo that embodies the client’s product or mission can help me get a color scheme together, which provides my launch pad for the rest of the design collateral.
It’s Okay Not to Be Inspired
In an agency’s fast-paced environment, it’s not always feasible to find inspiration. But, in my opinion, that’s okay. Just because I’m not exactly “inspired” during a project doesn’t mean I can’t deliver solid design that works for the client.
Sometimes, maybe I don’t realize that I’m actually inspired. We often think of being “inspired” as feeling that rush from an “Aha!” moment when we see one thing and it opens up the entire universe and we know exactly what will work and what will go where and who can do what and it all gets completed in the span of a Hollywood montage moment. Ummmmm, no.
For me, inspiration is building (slowly) off of what I know and what I’ve found from research done on the client and their target audience. Inspiration comes in short, brief spurts and gives me small insights into the building steps of the design project, which may speed up the process just a little. Not being inspired is okay, I can work through to find research and come up with relevant ideas that my team and I can test and then send off for the client’s approval.
Inspiration is overrated, like Butler said, “habit” really gets the job done.