First of all, Phaidon makes the very best books. Whether you like to make breakfast, decorate, or look sideways, they’ve got some brilliantly designed, higher-level-thinking book that feels more like art than just bound images and words. Right now, we’re digging Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!) by art direction legend George Lois. It’s a compact book full of aha moments for the creative mind.
Sometimes over-thinking can kill the creative process. There have been numerous times that we’ve hunkered down with our team to solve an issue, favoring heavy reasoning over gut instincts. The truth is, work done from your gut is always more impactful than work lost in the details. But how do you keep your instincts sharp?
Lois tells us that “nothing comes from nothing,” and he’s right. We’re in the creative field because the world speaks to us, and we (usually) listen. The great ideas or campaigns didn’t happen in a vacuum- they happened because someone was paying attention.
So when you’re stuck, remember that something can almost always come from something. Open your eyes, and your ears, and go look at something beautiful. Lois contends that the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is where he spends his weekly “spiritual day of worship,” so find the place that speaks loudest to you. It could be soaking in the brilliance of art, or it could be walking your dog in the woods near your house. By simultaneously resting your mind and invigorating it with something important and beautiful, you’re realigning your thinking and allowing yourself to bring things into focus.
Finding the places that inspire your best thoughts is easy- but you have to pay attention once you’re there.