Designing something well, whether it's a logo, website, poster, or book is a matter of meticulous study, sketching, research, more sketching through lots of bad ideas and, as Robert Plant put it, a whole lotta love. But let's take a minute to talk about bad ideas.
Where do ideas come from?
Bad ideas are the hard part of trying to be creative. After all, don't creative people just sit down and watch brilliant ideas flow onto a blank sheet of paper all day long? Most of the time I feel like I am the master of bad ideas. Maybe you have felt this way too. This is the discouraging part. This is where most people give up. This is why some people say they're not creative. They think that creativity should always be easy and if it's not, they must not be creative.
But let's not forget about the create part of the word creativity. At the heart of creativity is creation. If your not creating anything your not being creative. The truth is being creative is easy. If you are making something you are being creative. The good stuff comes from lots of creativity, or in other words, making lots of stuff. That is the hard part. Regardless, you have to put in the work, you have to work through bad idea, after bad idea, after bad idea and create. You have to try everything you think possible and then five other things, often scraping the bottom of the barrel. Part of being creative is having lots of bad ideas. Here is the thing about bad ideas: bad ideas are great because they help you find the good ideas.
Talk about your bad ideas
But until that point, with your bad ideas in hand, you should talk them over with your friends. You might feel embarrassed, but that's okay. Your friends will give you bad ideas too and maybe even some good ones, but none of them are going to be great. You can even laugh at each other and have a good old time. You will try all sorts of things. Sometimes it will be fun and sometimes it will be frustrating. You will have to find ways to get your mind off of work because you are sick of the problem your working on. You will lose sleep. You will feel like you can't have an idea because of project restraints like time, budget, and personality clashes with the client, etc.. Then you will take a break.
Have a breakthrough
You will be in the shower and you will unravel the creative mess you got yourself into in a matters of seconds. Your unconscious mind will synthesize all the bad ideas and even the good ones too. You will come up with not just one good idea but 5 great ideas. You will see how to execute each one and sell it to the client. You will feel creative. More than that, you will feel like you understand creativity. Most likely you will feel so great that you will totally forget about all the hard work that you put in for the past 3 weeks.
You will then feel like a creative guru who can figure out anything. Your client will say this project turned out really great. They might even comment on how creative you are. Then you will start your next project and feel completely stumped.
I find the best solutions come on the cusp of utter frustration and discouragement. It is hard to define the exact spot, but it feels really uncomfortable. Uncomfortably good. When I feel uncomfortable I know I'm getting somewhere. It is like the good idea is trapped behind a wall just trying to burst out. But you have to pick away at. It's tiring and monotonous, but then it hits, it's done, and it's awesome.