creative cycle in design

The creative cycle is something that is most familiar to individuals in a creative industry such as design. However, even those people who understand the cycle often forget it applies even to those areas of life that are not necessarily considered particularly creative in nature such as paying bills, meal planning, or scheduling family holidays.

What is the Creative Cycle?

The creative cycle is made of four distinct stages: research, ideation, development, and revision. The research stage requires figuring out exactly what it is you want to do. Do you want to create a logo, animate a short story, or create a piece of art? This is the stage where you look to search engines, life experiences, and outside sources for initial input. The ideation stage is when you begin brainstorming how to make this unique for you. It could include sketches, mind mapping, or creating lists. The development stage is where you begin to put your ideas into action and actually create the project you have been planning. Revision is the final stage where you, or a trusted friend, critically review the work in order to refine and improve where possible.

It’s easy to see how that would apply to creating artwork, a book, or a film but it can also be applied to menu planning. First, you would research recipes you may want to try by consulting friends, family, cookbooks, and Pinterest. Then you would begin arranging the recipes you want to try together in specific meals or on individual days. During the development stage, you would create lists of ingredients needed for each recipe and create a shopping list and schedule the time needed to prepare them each day in your calendar. The revisions stage may require changing ingredients as you go to better suit your personal preferences.

Protecting Your Creation

If you have gone to all the work to create something it makes sense to protect that creation. One way to do that is to make sure you are saving anything created on the computer and backing up that information to an external device or a cloud service. Why is this so important? If you have only saved the information to your primary hard drive, there is a greater likelihood of it being catastrophically damaged in the event of hardware failure, a virus, or physical destruction. If it is saved in two locations that are separate from each other, it is less likely that it will be impossible to recover. If you have saved it only to your primary device and something happens, you may still be able to recover some or all of the data by consulting Toronto hard drive recovery experts, or whatever reputable service exists in your city.

Again, it is quite easy to see the importance of this if you have been designing a website, writing a book, or editing photographs. But it is equally important for more mundane projects. What would happen if you lost all of your budgeting information for the past year, your favorite recipes, or your business and personal contacts? Make the time to ensure all of your creations have been adequately protected in order to prevent having to redo previous work in the future.

Protecting Your Creativity

Just as important as protecting your individual creations is making sure you have protected your creative potential. This primarily involves taking care of yourself. It is easy to overlook the fact that our ability to create is directly tied to our overall sense of well-being. You wouldn’t expect a car to function properly if it wasn’t being properly maintained and it is unwise to expect your creative potential to remain functional if you are not taking care of your body and mind.

This means eating and hydrating properly and getting enough rest. It also means taking time to fuel your creative spirit with whatever makes you feel most inspired. This could be walks in nature, reading a book, coloring books, listening to live music, traveling, or spending time with friends and family.

Whatever a creative fueling station looks like for you, make sure you pull over regularly and fill up. Don’t forget routine maintenance on your creations such as saving and backing up files regularly. Doing these two things will give you the freedom and energy to enjoy your creative cycle.