Physiologist have debated for years whether creativity is derived in a conscious state or in an subconscious state. Probably the best-written material on the subject comes from Gram Wallace book, The Art of Thought published way back in 1926. In this book Wallace theorizes that the creative process comes in four stages of creative thinking. The four stages are.
Stage One: Preparation (the conscious state)
In this stage the aim is to acquire more information about the problem than you already possess. For Barton Designs, this is the stage where we go out and do a lot of market research, and see what brands in your field are doing right and wrong. You might brainstorm, collaborate with others, anything that can help you move towards solving the design "problem" at hand. The stage of preparation may vary in length from a few minutes, as in the case of a brainstorming session, to months or years, as in the preparation for an invention or a crucial experiment where more research needs to be done.
Stage Two: Incubation (the subconscious state)
Stop thinking of the problem and turn your attention to anything else. Go for a run, a hike and take some pictures, blast some people in Call of Duty screaming profanities back that 11 year old's shouldn't be saying or have a few drinks with friends... drinking totally helps. Do anything that stimulates your mind, but does not involve solving your problem. You are going to give your unconscious mind time to digest all the material you gathered in the preparation stage. This is the same principal used to solve “designers block” or “writers block”. For us web designers and company branders, the incubation stage can last from a few hours to days. After incubating, go back to your problem and begin crafting a solution or idea. At the end of this stage, the idea, which has been incubating, is more clearly defined than it was at the beginning.
Stage Three: Illumination (The “Ahaaa!” Moment.)
This is where the idea, which has been incubating, assumes definite form. This is when you say BAM, THIS PROJECT IS GOING TO BE SICK! Better known as the “Ahaa! Moment”. This is the feeling you get when you have been struggling with your thoughts and can’t quite put your finger on what is missing. The idea will appear suddenly and comes with a feeling of certainty. This is a rewarding stage because you really reach a sense of accomplishment.
Stage Four: Verification (the, now I can get paid state)
This is where you challenge the idea that came to you in the Illumination stage. Does your solution work and/or does it need revisions? This is the stage where Barton Designs fine tunes the content we produce and make sure its ready to be seen in the world. After this stage, you need to continue and do follow up verification, reaching out to clients in the future and ensuring that there are no flaws or issues that come up.
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