NOMATIC designer explains how to be creative (even when you’re not feeling creative)
Creating day in and day out can be exhausting. So how does the NOMATIC design team show up to work and create innovative products every day? NOMATIC's Director of Industrial Design, Evan Howard, explained the habits he uses to keep his mind thinking in new directions.
Spend time with kids
Creativity is sparked by looking at things from a new point-of-view. For Evan, he finds that the time he spends with his kids not only benefits his family relationships, but the benefits bleed into his creativity. He said, “It is important to refuel the creative tank each day. I refuel by spending time with my kids and watching them view the world in a new way.”
The NOMATIC design team regularly does "design storms" with sharpies and rolls of brown craft paper. Unlike a traditional brainstorm, where words don't always allow design to be conveyed, the design storm forces team members to visualize thoughts. Evan explained, "Large format sketching helps everyone dump out their ideas onto the same table, one the same piece of paper. Once there, it is easier to see what each person at the table is thinking.”
On days when you feel uninspired and burnt out, field trips can help shake you back into creativity. Evan describes one day where this helped him: “I left the office and went to a movie on a long lunch break to clear my head. The movie was drama with lots of great visuals. The music for the film was also very good. I left the movie feeling renewed and went back to the office and sketched out some components for a design I had been stumped on for days.”
Listen to music
Music can also help you access different parts of your brain. Evan said, “I spark creativity with music. When I put on good music it helps me get into a new head space.”
Some experts suggest using certain sounds to trigger the brain to think in a certain direction. Create a creativity playlist and only listen to it when working on your projects to spark your brain to think creatively.
Listen to “How I Built This”
“If I need to change it up, podcasts work get to spark new thoughts," Evan said. His favorite: "How I Built This" where Guy Raz interviews the world's most successful entrepreneurs in a way that exposes their innovative genius.
Spend time outside
If nothing else, get yourself into the outdoors where your mind is fresh and can be stimulated by the beautiful earth. “I get out in nature as much as possible to create," said Evan.