5 Steps in Creative Process

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The nature of creative work has changed drastically over the recent years. Digital media has taken over the conventional ones which were in use for centuries. This has pushed the demand for high-quality content to new heights.

As a result, professional creatives and marketers are focusing more on repeatable creation processes for content in order to keep pace and simultaneously maintain a high standard of work quality. The online graphic design courses help kids learn the basics of the creative process.

What is a Creative Process?

The creative process is the framework of creativity and experimentation that results in something new being created. This includes ebooks, songs, podcasts, art, painting, and anything in between.

The creative process can be thought of as the act of making new connections between old ideas. Thus, we can say that creative thinking is the task of recognizing relationships between concepts.

Steps in Creative Process

While some professional creatives might make it look easy, the creative process is not linear, or predictable. It might take days, or weeks, or months, and you might have to go back and forth and repeat steps to get the desired outcome.

The creative process may seem like an abstract concept, but it does have a structure. We break it down into 5 steps here.

1. Preparation

The creative process begins with preparation: gathering information and materials, identifying sources of inspiration, and acquiring knowledge about the project or problem at hand. The key to this step is to fully immerse oneself in the material.

This is often an internal process (thinking deeply to generate and engage with ideas) as well as an external one (going out into the world to gather the necessary data, resources, materials, and expertise). This step usually involves a creative brief and includes things like researching a brand, the target audience, or gathering inspiration from other sources.

Steps in Creative Process

If you’re a writer, you’re reading other works in the same area. If you’re a musician, you’re listening to other pieces of music that inspire you. The same applies to the creative class of graphic designers and digital artists.

2. Incubation

The next step is to soak the information gathered in step 1 in the mind. As ideas slowly flow, the work deepens and new connections are formed. This is the step where the “magic” happens for most creatives. During this, you take a step back from the problem and allow your mind to wander to let it contemplate and work the problem through.

Steps in Creative Process

While the conscious mind wanders, the unconscious engages in taking diverse ideas and influences and finding new ways to bring them together. You nurture the unconscious thought process, for example, by staying open to the ideas that come to you while you are watching a movie or going for a walk. You open your mind to all ideas – even the crazy ones.

3. Illumination

This is the stage where the idea, which has been incubating, assumes a definite form. Also known as the lightbulb moment – the “Aha!” moment. This is the feeling you get when you have been struggling with your thoughts and can’t figure out what is missing. The idea will appear suddenly and comes with a feeling of certainty. When this moment hits, a person might rush to their sketchbook or keyboard to jot it down before it escapes them.

Steps in Creative Process

4. Evaluation

During this stage, you consider the validity of your idea and weigh it against alternatives. This is the hard part, where you look at all the ideas before you and narrow it down to which ones work and which ones don’t. This is also a time of reflection when you look back at your initial concept or problem to see if your solution aligns with your initial vision.

Steps in Creative Process

This is usually the phase when client feedback comes into the mix and you, your team, and the client weigh different options and decide what works for the problem at hand. Business professionals might do market research to test the viability of the idea. During this phase, you might go back to the drawing board or you might forge on, confident in what you’ve come up with.

5. Implementation

This is the phase where the idea you’ve been preparing and incubating sees the light of the day. Now the final product gets produced, where things like skill, experience, knowledge, and hours of work come into play. This is the writer’s final draft, the artist’s finished piece, the musician’s live performance. The satisfaction of a job well done after this stage makes all the hours of hard work worth it.

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