I'm a creative director at Laughing Samurai. I bark orders. Sometimes people listen. Sometimes they don't. When they play nice, I pay with pizza. And sometimes with Nachos. Hell, sometimes even Beer. Wanna work with me? Let's do this.

Creativity will happen. Or not.

Creativity has a mind of its own. You can try to harness it by following rituals and lighting some incense, but at the end of the day, creative thought will come when it wants to. I don’t know what sparks it for me. Maybe someone has figured this out. It happens sometimes at the perfect moment, sometimes in situations that are soon followed by an awkward moment, and sometimes a little too late to make a difference.

I do know this. Never force creativity, because it will come back and kick you in the nuts. I laugh when clients ask me “how soon before you have something?” My answer is usually something along the lines of a vague time or an “I don’t know”. The “I don’t know” is rarely well received. I try never to force creativity. I will not say I’ve never tried to. Some things have come out of these. These forced ideas are usually the rejected ones. I do think that it is good practice to let all your ideas out, no matter how bad they are. If you let out the bad ideas, they make way for the good ideas. And thats what we all want, don’t we? That one good idea?

The smart thing to do is to get into a habit. For me it is turning on some music and getting knee deep into whatever problem I’m trying to solve. And by knee deep I mean research. Get so immersed in the subject matter and do so much research that eventually the solutions start surfacing, and as they do, I write them down.

Of course, some ideas don’t arrive as easy. Some problems are so tough that even brainstorming sessions don’t do much for them but waste a whole teams time. It’s that one problem you can’t figure out how to solve. That one problem that keeps you up at night. The one that makes your stomach fill with anxiety to the point where you can’t eat. The one that makes everyone become irritating, even your cute kid trying to cuddle. Get off of me! Why are you all so happy and jolly? I cant figure this thing out, can’t you see? What the fuck are you looking at? Then it happens. The moment every creative person looks for. It’s like that eight hundred pound silverback has stopped pummeling your stomach. Creative nirvana. You find the idea. An idea so grand, you can’t wait to tap that keg and call your colleagues at 3 a.m. The ONE (cue the choir of angels).

Okay, maybe it’s not that spiritual.

Remember that creativity should never be forced. Find a creative habit that works best for you, and capitalize on it. Budget yourself a reasonable amount of time to get the ideas you need, being mindful of your deadlines, and let creativity happen. It will come thru. It always does.


  1. Posted July 2, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink rod rodriguez

    Hey man, great post! I’m thinking exactly the same thing… creativity when forced doesn’t turn out quite the way it should. Sometimes I wish theres a way to explain such concepts to clients. Sheesh

  2. Posted July 13, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink The Fontografist

    Send them this post!

  3. Posted March 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink sarah

    I am totally sharing this with everyone at work and with some who don’t get what creatives do. thanks for sharing your thoughts! : )

  4. Posted March 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink The Fontografist

    Awesome! Thanks!

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *