pressure cooker - creative idea pressure

When you work in the creative industry there is a lot of pressure to have ideas on demand. And that’s not always easy.

At one of the design jobs I had, they knew I was good at coming up with concepts for adverts and posters. I much prefer the idea bit and the headline to creating the look. So the company gave me this sort of work when they had it. Where possible, I would always ask them to give me the brief the night before I had to do the job. This took the pressure off.

When I drove home I would start thinking of ideas. Then, at home in the evening, I would sit with a layout pad with the TV on in the background and fill sheets of paper with ideas. In a way this was bad, I was coming up with the ideas in my time. But having that relaxed atmosphere of being at home with no-one there waiting on the ideas allowed my ideas to flow much more freely.

Ways I find helps take the pressure off

Think Overnight

If possible knowing what the brief is the night before you need to do the job really helps. This gives your subconscious a little time to do its stuff before you’re under pressure.

Creative input – reference material –

Having lots of reference material around you. Even if it means spending an hour creating a mood-board/Pinterest board this always makes me relax a little. You need input in order to be able to make new creative connections to output. This means you are not starting completely blind.

Knowing your tools well

Having a decent level of skill with software at least means the physical side of putting something together doesn’t take as long.

Having your own stuff around you (working at home)

When I first started freelancing I used to work in house at agencies. This could be a bit of a nightmare. Not only was a job usually required quickly, but you also never knew quite what resources the company would have. In my case that would mean I didn’t have trusty fall back fonts to rely on. If you work on your own computer, you at least know where everything is. This one less thing to worry about

Turn email off and only check occasionally

This means you won’t constantly get distracted by little things that need doing, which break your concentration.