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Creative Links – December

I’m going to make Creative Links a monthly feature, highlighting posts about creativity and related matters that are inspiring, interesting, useful or preferably all three.

Here’s what I found in December:

Procrastination is a classic way to block creativity, so if that’s your Achilles heel, read Kathy Sierra’s Creativity on Speed, on the excellent Creating Passionate Users.

One of the best ways to be truly creative–breakthrough creative–is to be forced to go fast. Really, really, really fast. From the brain’s perspective, it makes sense that extreme speed can unlock creativity. When forced to come up with something under extreme time constraints, we’re forced to rely on the more intuitive, subconscious parts of our brain. The time pressure can help suppress the logical/rational/critical parts of your brain.

Kathy Sierra’s trailer is one of the creative workspaces featured in Alexander Kjerulf’s gorgeously-illustrated list of 10 Seeeeeriously Cool Workplaces. Other featured offices include Pixar, Mindlab in Copenhagen, Volkswagen in Dresden, and of course the Googleplex.

It was great to get a Christmas present from Design Observer when they linked to my enthusiasm post in their ‘Observed’ column. I can’t imagine them getting quite so excited about a link back from me, but Michael McDonough’s Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School is worth reading (even if you didn’t miss out on the top 10 by not going to design school). The list includes ‘Talent is one-third of the success equation’, ’95 percent of any creative profession is shit work’ and ‘When you throw your weight around, you usually fall off balance’.

Staying with the business of design, Graphic Define has a good list of questions for aspiring designer/entrepreneurs – ‘Are You Ready to Open Your Own Design Studio?’.

Thanks to Three Minds @ Organic for pointing me to the New York Times’ Year In Ideas Issue, covering the ‘serious and silly’ ideas of 2006, such as ‘The Comb that Listens’, ‘Empty-Stomach Intelligence’ and ‘Wine that Ages Instantly’. Three Minds also introduced me to the delightful Samorost Interactive Adventure (Not Safe for Anyone with Lots to Do).

Scamp is writing a great series of Tips for Young Creatives. No.4 was Pretend You’re Two Blokes in the Pub and try to convince your mate of the value of the product you’re working on:

It strips away all the marketing bullshit, and can lead to something simple and honest.

I’ve been using a similar technique for ages, to get writers (including myself) unblocked and strip away the ‘literary bullshit’, so it’s good to see it applied to advertising. Other tips in the series – 1. Don’t Over-Polish, 2. Choosing an Agency, 3. Play Family Fortunes, 5. Dickett’s Finger, 6. Use Never-Seen-Before-Footage and 7. How to Approach Agencies. Hopefully there will be plenty more in 2007.

Apart from being essential reading for anyone with a presentation to give, Presentation Zen provide plenty of general creative inspiration offers inspiration like this end-of-year post on The Need for Solitude in the creative process.

Finally, Brian Clark’s Copyblogger is one of the most consistently useful blogs on the web – if you write a business blog, website or e-book you’re probably reading him already, but if not you can’t afford to miss The Best of Copyblogger.

That’s it for December – I’ll post January’s creative links early in February.

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  1. […] OK I might have made a bit of a mistake by promising to do Creative Links on a monthly basis – there are simply too many good creativity posts. Or maybe it’s like buying a new car – as soon as you decide on the model you want, you see it everywhere. In the interests of keeping up and keeping things fresh I’ll have a go at doing Creative Links weekly from now on. But first here’s the edited highlights of what I found in January, sorted into categories to keep it manageable. […]