I commenced my course entitled "Creative Multimedia" in September. We learned a number of disciplines including Photoshop, Illustrator, web design, animation and video. The classes initially composed of getting used to the interface of the programs and beginner tutorials. I was wondering just how "creative" the course would be, but found this out at Christmas when our first projects were due.
Our Christmas projects ranged from making banner Flash advertisements to designing postage stamps. It was certainly a challenge getting the creative juices flowing! A great help was our Graphic Design module. This class was very focused on providing us with the answers of actually how to think up something original and clever rather than following a software tutorial. It also provided us with the terminology and principals of graphic design.
Below are some techniques to help with creative blocks
For almost any project you are commencing, brainstorming on paper either with a Mind Map or Word List is essential! Write down whatever comes to mind and don't concern yourself with being "right". Sift to find good ideas later.
Tip! The best and most clever communicative design ideas come in time. Don't rush this stage!
Sketch and Use Paper
If you have a visual idea in mind, sketch it out and see how it comes together on paper. This is quicker than producing it in Illustrator only to find that it doesn't look how you thought it did in your mind.
Make a Mood Board
Once you think you have a nice idea to work with, create a mood board. Illustrator is particularly good to do this in as you can grab and move things easily. Add colour schemes, images, fonts, drawings etc.
If you are designing for a client, this is a great way of communicating your idea in it's early stages. Your client can easily comment and give feedback on your idea and provide you with more direction if required.
Here's a mood board I made for a magazine cover.
To see the finished cover, visit here.
Make a Storyboard
Storyboarding is essential when producing linear media like animation or video. All animation films are storyboarded first and Peter Jackson also storyboarded The Lord of the Rings before shooting. It serves as a helpful map when shooting video and keeps Director and Cast on track!
Here's a deleted scene from Shrek entitled "Fiona Gets Them Lost" showing how storyboards are used before production. Note: This is a professional storyboarder who do this full time, The storyboard below is incredibly detailed.
So there you have it! Some tips I've picked up for starting projects and combating creative blocks.
What works for you? Let me know in the comments below or follow me on Twitter