How often do you work to improve your creativity? You see, creativity is like a muscle, and it must be exercised for you to become a quick and smart design thinker and decision-maker. The key is to know how to push yourself into new “creativity zones” where you can learn to shift paradigms, use new tools, unlock new processes, and even find new ways of working with your team.
In history, there have been times when an “unbuildable” concept, only realized on paper, was paradigm shifting – as such concepts served to shift the mindset of the people toward greater innovative possibilities for the future. I still find it fascinating to see these “unbuildable” concept drawings from yesteryear, and then to think about how our current “unbuildable” concepts will impact the future of our present time.
As an environmental designer, it is ever important to lift your work to the next level. This means that you never settle into a design process plateau where creative growth remains stagnant. And as you work to inject multi-sensory design into your architectural creations, you keep your design vision, decision-making, and communication skills at their peak levels. This is why I created the following top 5 list of best ways to grow your design creativity in the year ahead…
When designing, the constraints that reality brings to your set of programmatic challenges can be numerous. After all, you as a designer must solve for constraints including the financial, the technological, and the time-based. And while this must be done for each project, there is often a powerful aspect to design that goes unleveraged – the injection of fiction.
When creating an architecture that speaks to its occupants through their senses (in beneficial ways), there is a creativity in designing that can help you to expand the way you make design decisions about how to coordinate environmental features to reach multi-sensory design specifications. As such, with any overarching principles or building codes, there is a creativity that you must tap into so you can design beautifully, functionally, and meaningfully for new and beneficial experiences that also meet those requirements.
When examining your design process, determine your weakest link — that is the area within your design process system that is hindering you from improving your design projects and/or your design business.
Go beyond the confines of your office and your project site. Visit meaningful architectural works in the world (whether local to you or a distant trip away).
By making your work “semi-public” at certain stages (even if “semi-public” means “within your office”), your design will become stronger as you will be able to respond with creative solutions to the different perspectives of what is working or not working within your project.
Learning a new skill will help you think differently and communicate differently. And the more versatile you are with communicating design ideas to yourself and others, the stronger your designs will be from inception to completion.
Build experiments. When choosing a material color or texture for your building – test it. Learn to balance the art of business efficiency with creative design experimentation.
Find inspiration from other medias, like books, art or even film. Notice how the narratives flow, how the compositions are harmonized and how different senses are leveraged to convey messages through those mediums.
When you are working on an aspect of your design where you just don’t seem to be making headway on finding an elegant solution, try shifting to something else for a while — or if it’s the end of the day, simple leave it as what you will tackle first thing the next day.
The creative process is like a spring. You wind-up the spring to prepare for its release. When creating, I absorb in the world and explore internally (my wind-up), and then I have creative emergence (my release). And as I delve into my creative practice, I go back and forth between the two. How do you "absorb" as you prepare to "release" your creativity within your design solution?
When analyzing the finished results between a hand-drawing versus a digital-drawing, the stylistic differences are easy to see. Both types of drawings can be very beautiful, if thoughtfully composed. Yet, a designer will think about what they are drawing very differently depending on which drawing process they use.
A design process definition can be explained as the creative and iterative methods one goes through in order to solve for a particular challenge, need, or goal. Within architectural design, one’s design process goes through various stages that begin with an initial creative vision that ultimately gets built as a building that occupants can use. The goal for architects is to optimize their design process in order to create the highest quality architectural design in the shortest amount of time, and within budget. The following is an architect's guide to design process.