It’s a weird place, being in the mind of a creative personality. Your mind is always going, constantly generating ideas and discovering ways to bring them to life.
But have you ever thought about the steps of your creative process? Being aware of how your creative internal process works can be an extremely helpful thing. It’s an excellent way to overcome creative roadblocks, boost your overall productivity, and collaborate more effectively.
So, whether you’re tackling a product design process, a creative team brainstorming session, or searching for ways to make your own creative process more efficient, keep reading for the seven stages of the creative process!
Step 1: Creative Ideation
The creative process begins with an idea.
Your ideas come from what you’ve seen, heard, and experienced, so encourage new ideas by setting aside time each day to daydream, and to look for new trends and inspiration online, in new places, and through new experiences.
Your next eureka moment might come to you while you're brainstorming or when you least expect it, but once it does, the creative process has begun!
For more insight on creative thinking, we recommend the book, The Art of Thought. It’s a very enlightening read for creative minds!
Step 2: Letting it Stew
This is part of the insight stage. After your idea hits, it’s time to let it stew.
And much like a delicious stew, it cannot be rushed. Let it sit, let the different flavors start to mingle and combine.
This is where you’ll start to see your idea’s creative potential, what it might look like in action, and the steps you’ll need to get it done. Your brain will need some time to think. Often, it works best when you aren’t actively trying (there’s a reason so many good ideas happen in the shower!).
So, take a walk, think about it while you’re lying in bed, or when you’re cooking dinner. Whatever it takes to give your idea that time it needs.
Step 3: Gather Your Ingredients
Your idea is perfectly marinated, so it’s time to enter the preparation stage and spend some time gathering information, problem-solving, and doing research.
Depending on the medium you’re using, you’ll also spend some time deciding the best way to bring your idea to life. You may need to look at other work, do some reading, or, if this is for a client, step into their shoes to see things from their perspective.
It wouldn’t hurt to do a little marketing research at this stage as well, to make sure your idea is aligned with your client’s needs.
Step 4: Mind Mapping
The incubation stage is over and now it’s time for your idea to come to life. If you’re a writer, you might start with an outline to put the big pieces into place. If you’re a designer, it might be sketches or a mood board. An animator may need a storyboard or to start creating custom characters.
Whatever your medium, this is where you’ll begin roughly molding your idea into what you want your finished product to be. If it’s for a client, you should also start adjusting your finished product to their needs.
Don’t be afraid to step away and come back to your mind map to see if you think of any new ingredients to add in order to create a better finished product.
Step 5: Scoop it All Out
Now it’s first draft time, baby.
It’s time to get that idea out of your head. Scoop it all out. Seeds and all. You want it all on paper, Google Doc, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, or whatever you’re using.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. For now, just scoop it out and get your first version down. You can always revise a rough draft; you can’t revise what doesn’t exist.
Step 6: Revise, Rethink, Reseason
Now it’s time to love on your idea. Revise your draft according to feedback from your Creative Director, your client, or yourself.
Don’t rush it, because this is probably the longest step of the process, and don’t be afraid to set your idea on a shelf and walk away for a few days, either. It’s often best to give things a second marinade so you can approach them later with a fresh eye and re-season as needed.
Step 7: Sample the Recipe
We have arrived at the final stage of the process.
Once your creative idea has been nurtured into something you’re proud of, it’s time to let others (Creative Directors, Creatives, whoever’s judgment you trust) sample your recipe. Let them have a taste and get their honest feedback.
Is there something that needs adjusting? No worries, revise as needed.
Once you’re confident you have a worthy concoction, put it into action.
Whether it’s a video, a social media ad, a logo, or a blog, make sure it’s performing the way you intended it to perform.
If it’s not, just revise as necessary.
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Looking for a creative outlet?
If you’re in need of a creative outlet for your process, a place to have those ‘aha’ moments, then Designity is always looking for new talent.
Designity can offer you all of the freedom of a freelancer with the consistent income and workload of a creative agency. We’d love to see where your unique creative process can take you.
What does your creative process look like?