Part of my own process is researching creative theory, and thought leaders in design.  Just this month I began reading the book, Creative Confidence by brothers Tom and David Kelley. They teach people the power of ‘design thinking’ and creative problem solving in every area of life. I found plenty of cohesion between their theories, and the mantras of the cult.

Don’t let the novel brotherly photo or the great mustaches fool you. These guys are creative monsters. Here are 5 truths about the creative process I think are worth sharing from the book, as well as some personal insights from the journeys of the cult. Keep in mind that these truths are generally focused towards generating creative ideas. What are some guidelines  for developing a good, creative idea?

1.) The first idea is never perfect.

We all have it. That perfect concept for our latest creative venture. Whether its a book, illustration, business, or invention, we can often get stuck on the first illusionary prototype.

A professor of mine once told me that the first page of a new sketchbook is always the hardest because its the first think you flip to. If treated improperly or ‘ruined’ then that’s a failure you’ll have to revisit every time you open to draw, therefore, the first page of the sketchbook is almost this ‘tell-all’ of how the rest of the sketchbook will be.

This is a hinderance. I say, ruin that first page. Spill ink on it. Scribble on it. Set the tone this way and commit to being a work in progress. No-one goes into any venture of life and succeeds perfectly. Why should we expect to do the same with our idea?


2.) “No Bad Ideas” 

Think in this phrase while offering different solutions to a problem. Don’t rule out any idea too quickly, as this may dampen a possible good solution. Entertain each idea, keep them on the table, and consider them up against all other solutions. You may find that ‘ridiculous’ idea leads you to another iteration that becomes the solution!

(Ex: Man! That’s an interesting idea, what if socks could put themselves on in the morning.? An intriguing proposition no doubt!)


3.) Let people in.

Often, we don’t want to show people our works in progress. It’s a vulnerable thing, someone looking at you work that you haven’t solved yet. That’s because it makes you look imperfect. Incomplete. Human.

Letting others nudge you and guide you into new possibilities for you work may be uncomfortable, and perhaps even discouraging. However, when taken properly as constructive criticism, feedback can only benefit the end result.

As they say, “when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” So bring the  Mrs. Tape into the equation, and your good friend the Pencil, and yes even the weird Mini Stapler from down the street. Listen to what others have to say, chances are, you’ll glean a valuable piece of the puzzle that could have only come from an outside source.


4.) No attachment.

In high-school art class, my teacher Mr. Oberdick operated under the principles of tough love. One day we were reviewing our cornucopia still-lives when we came to a girl who had a funky composition. Mr. Oberdick went up to her paper and tore off the side of the project that was throwing off the balance of the piece. She nearly cried.

Upon reflection, I was angry that he had done this. I had convinced myself that it wasn’t right. That other’s art was their art and that’s sacred ground! But what I hadn’t considered was the freedom Mr. Oberdick intended on teaching us. If we treat everything we make as holy literature, then we’ll only slow down the process of growth. There is a time to preserve, but there is also a time to exercise, learn, reformulate.

If we approach our earliest  concepts with less attachment, and more enthusiasm for the process, our creativity would only benefit! Maybe one night we’ll all spend hours making art, only to ceremoniously burn it over the campfire. Sounds thrilling to me.


5.) DO MORE.

Straight up, if you’re going to create something, then give it all you’ve got. Instead of doing just one, hesitant, delicate, pencil drawing; do thirty scribble gestures in black ink. Most likely, the practice of recording the form quickly and in multiples will teach you how to make that one more time consuming piece more accurately.

The same goes for your ideas. Create, and then refine. Get out the glues sticks, poster board and printer paper. It costs hardly anything for tape and a tissue to be used as a mockup for an exciting new chair design.


Thats it for now Cult Friends. Hope you’ve enjoyed the read. Suggest the topic for our next blog in the comments below.


With Love,

Creative C*ULT Lives.