ODC Recommendations: 6 Tips for Creative Inspiration

Eureka! You’ve had those moments of sudden clarity when the solution to a sticky problem or design challenge materializes like magic. While we can’t claim credit for inventing the term—that goes to the Greek philosopher Archimedes and his bathhouse math antics—we’re pretty pleased to utter, “Eureka!” on a regular basis. We picked the One Design team’s brains to find out how they get into the right headspace, stay inspired, and keep their minds fresh for those moments. Here are their tips for keeping those creative juices flowing.

Tip #1: Relax

Take time to step away from what you’re working on. For senior software engineer Matt Kornatz, taking a walk around town or sitting outside with a beer is one of the best ways to spur creativity. Copywriter Bianca Smith unplugs during her commute and allows her mind to wander. It is there, she says, where ideas have a way of walking into her head.

Tip #2: Get some perspective

Senior designer Becky Sanders recommends travel as a way to uncover great ideas. You don’t have to cross an ocean, though. Take a day trip outside the city, explore a new neighborhood, or grab lunch with someone who has a different perspective.

Tip #3: Visualize and document

Get in the habit of collecting found objects, imagery, and quotes, and make lists to stay on top of your ideation process. Keep a Field Notes journal on call for whenever inspiration strikes, and don’t forget that your smartphone is a camera in your pocket.

Tip #4: Set time constraints

One of the most common recommendations from the team to stay motivated creatively is to set deadlines and time blocks. Commit to a chunk of time entirely devoted to your project, set your phone to “do not disturb,” and chug along. If you’re the kind of person who works well under pressure, deadlines also have a way of sparking creativity.

Tip #5: Embrace the Mondays

Look, we don’t have a cure for the Mondays, we’re not superheroes. They can be slow no matter how much you love your job. But we do have a few ideas to help you be a little quicker on the draw. Creative director David Sieren sets his office light and stereo to turn on at 5 am so he has to jump out of bed to turn them off. Developer Michael Ramuta kicks his Monday off with “coffee, biking to work, and positive texts from my mother.” Other recommendations include tackling mundane tasks on Sunday to look forward to the good stuff on Monday, and three cups of coffee in quick succession.

Tip #6: Find inspiration through others

Podcasts, musicians, other industry folks, and books can be the perfect imaginative spark you need to keep going. Here are some of our team’s favorites:

Music & Podcasts
Brian Eno
Run The Jewels
The Daily

Publications & Social
Vice News
It’s Nice That
The WebDev subreddit

People & Places
The ODC bookshelf
Coffee shops around Chicago
Nearby hikes

Where are you most inspired? Drop us a line on our social!

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One Design Company is a research-driven design and development studio. For over a decade, we’ve explored the intersection of experience and technology—where powerful brands come to life. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.

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