It’s really shocking how many people I come across that say to me, “Oh, I’m not like you, I’m not creative.” Why do so many of us default to this statement? Maybe it feels like an arrogant thing to say about yourself if you’re not an expert or critically acclaimed. Maybe it’s the common misconception that the “creative” people are the people that have the magical ability to create something out of nothing, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The truth is that most of the creative process is about combining the many things that have inspired you (experiences, things you’ve seen or heard) and creating something unique from them. So intrinsically, we are all unique and creative beings, because we all have a unique set of experiences and vision.
Sometimes we may see something creative and think, “I could never think of that, so I must not be creative.” What we don’t realize is that many sources, experiences, trial, error, and failures all combined to create that person’s unique vision. Einstein’s famous statement, “the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” really is true in this sense. Creative people don’t possess a magical unattainable power. The world is not divided into the creative and the uncreative. The distinction lies merely between those who are creatively productive and those with unexpressed potential. Don’t ask, “Am I creative?” Ask, “What inspires me to create?”
From my experience most people know what they don’t like. Few people know what they do like, and even fewer know why. The secret is to explore and discover. You will distill your own unique sense of design. I’ve catalogued some of the best ways to kick-start this process and help you unleash that inner design diva!
1. Start a design journal. Get a three ring binder and designate it as your design journal. Consider it a working record that serves to help you discover and understand your own personal design style, a resource from which you can continually add to and draw from.
2. Open yourself to inspiration. Get inspired by exposing yourself to new things and recognizing the way these things make you feel. For starters, design magazines, websites and blogs are a great resource. Examine these resources and allow them to speak to you in some way. Open yourself to a variety of work from different designers and artists as they pull from many sources and life perspectives to create spaces that are unique and fresh.
3. Seek visual inspiration. Clip or print pictures from these resources (tear sheets is the industry term) and put them in your journal. Circle, scribble, draw arrows to the things you like; it may be a particular color combination, pattern or piece. This is key to identifying your style. If you like something (but are not quite sure why) still include it and revisit it later. These “unusual” things are the fun mysteries that help define our deeper sense of style!
If you’re not into physically cataloguing all your inspiration (or you just don’t have the time,) Pinterest is a wonderful tool that makes cataloguing and organizing the inspiring images you find around the web really easy. It’s also an incredible place to find more inspiration than you could ever keep up with, and is quickly becoming a must-have source of inspiration for creative work.
To find out what inspires us at Jacobson Interiors, don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest!
4. See the unusual in usual things. Look at the everyday things around you with new eyes and ask new questions about old things. “What else could I use this for? If I arranged these differently what would they look like?” You will find that a simple change of perspective will create a new view of the world.
5. Generate and capture new ideas. Once you start to understand why you find different things beautiful or inspiring you will naturally apply this knowledge to your own personal sense of style, unique to only you! Write them down, snap a picture or draw them simply in your journal to preserve the process and look for ways to apply them to your life.
6. Break things up. After a while your journal will begin to fill up with inspirations and your own ideas you now have the ability to sort and categorize these things in any way you want. You can break it up by rooms, colors or moods.
Now you have a foundation for building on basic design principles to help you make the spaces around you into places you truly want to live in – spaces that make you feel good to be in. Personal creativity is not about intelligence or information. Creativity is about being fully alive, living courageously. The word “inspiration” is from the Latin spiritus, meaning “breath, courage, the soul.” What is it that calls forth your courage and trumps your fear of sharing your soul? Knowing this is the key to discovering the design creativity that is waiting to be expressed in your home, through you!