Creativity in Captivity – Notes from Designers on Creative Life in Isolation | 03

It may shock you to know that today has been Monday. In the current circumstances its easy to let everything blend into one, nights into days, weeks into weekends, I was surprised to find out there is a bank holiday this weekend, who knew? In a world where most of your structure is going to be self imposed, we hear from 3 designers on various ways to think about or implement structure in various aspects of your life from workspace to personal hygiene.

Raf Godfrey, Head of menswear, Norse Projects

Mostly for me it’s about keeping routine, and having time allocated to my day. It very quickly becomes easy to not focus on anything properly, and for me that is difficult mentally, so I keep my routine pretty stable. 

Ironically, my immediate social group has expanded these last weeks, it shouldn’t have taken this to realise all those friends are always just a phone call away, but for creative thoughts and inspiration, I can’t think of a better source.

I also really see the positives to working in a more isolated space for portions of the day, and really see that as an opportunity to step away from the open plan chaos for a bit, it really doesn’t give you any space to think… So this isolation has really helped give me some clarity of ideas to take into face to face (online) conversations.

David Filar, Design & Development Manager, Vibram

The challenge with creativity is that it runs differently for everyone. And now that we’ve been handcuffed into a specific working environment for the unforeseen future, it makes it even more challenging. In a non-quarantined time, I would say travel because I think that’s the greatest form of inspiration to provoke creativity.  
With that being said, I’ve found a few tricks that work for specifically while at home.

1. Listen/ watch something unfamiliar.

I’m generally a big podcast guy – but while my work station is right next to my tv, I put on Youtube videos in the background. And they’re videos that have very little to do with design or footwear. They’re usually about how to make something – like screen printing t shirts, someone talking about how to make a business successful through marketing, or an interview with a rapper who has struggled their way through 20 years of life. All those examples are complete opposite to one another but they share one thing in common – they stretch my brain to think about something completely new to me. That sense of unknown thought actually helps me come up with previously unknown ideas.

Here are links to some random content I’ve recently consumed to really get my brain thinking and inspired.

2. Build a space for you.

We are going to be in this situation for at least a few weeks, it’s super important to spend the time building a space comfortable for yourself.

For example – I can’t work facing a wall. I love being able to see 180 degrees around me. When I’m facing a wall or a corner I get really tense about not knowing what is going on around me. But the take away is not about how much facing walls sucks, but rather understand yourself and how you work.

3. Move.

Have you ever seen the movie Zombieland? Rule #18 – Limber up. Start stretching, shake out your arms, try to touch your toes (haven’t been able to do that in 28 years) all throughout the day. The challenge with WFH is you get consumed by your computer or Cintiq tablet because you have nowhere else to go. But it’s key to move around to have your brain focus on your body versus your work, even for a few moments.

4. Do not disturb.

This feature is on both the Iphone and Mac. I’ve grown incredibly fond of it especially when I get in the zone of creating, I can’t have an outside force disrupt that. So I put on do not disturb on the devices that can hinder that.

5. Actions lead to creativity.

You will feel uncreative. Don’t judge yourself when this feeling hits, and it will hit. You’re surrounded by Netflix and food all day long, all you want to do is sit on the couch and do nothing. And although you’re completely unmotivated and uninspired the key is to DO. At your lowest point of motivation, any sort of action towards your job or work will lead to another action. Actions lead to motivation, motivation creates inspiration, inspiration formulates creativity.

Sam Reynolds, Footwear Designer, Paul Smith

Shower… again.

No matter how close those four walls feel, you’re not starring in a Jamiroquai video. So when it gets too much, no matter how clean you are; take off that furry fedora and get in the shower.

Appreciate that feeling, everything you have and have a cleanse…

9 out of 10 times the EU-f**king-REKA moment comes to me in the shower when my mind is miles away. Whether it’s the groundbreaking idea that concludes the concept or a lacing system that will please the stylist, factory AND the buyers.

Look, it’s insanely inconvenient & everything’s wet. You’ll have nowhere to sketch but in the condensation on the mirror and maybe your reflection will mock as you clumsily draw those groundbreaking ideas in the fog.

These are the ideas that might revolutionise footwear so stay strong, look past your distorted reflection and go make history.

Feel free to share your thoughts on Creativity in Captivity on the Conceptkicks IG and stay tuned for more insights.

Matthew Taylor

Footwear designer | Founder + Creative director of Auxiliary

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