As any designer or marketing professional knows all too well, you can’t force creative genius. Even the most clever and capable among us will at times find herself scrambling to devise (by 5pm!) a brilliant, industry-disrupting branding concept, and be hopelessly stuck.
Where does creativity really come from, and why does it often seem increasingly elusive the harder you try to summon it? Why is it that I’ve had more “aha moments” in the shower than I have at my workspace?
Maybe it’s less about trying to come up with a good idea, and more about getting into the right mind space from which good ideas can more easily arise; in other words, focusing less on the solution to the project itself, and more on how you feel.
Over time, all designers come to learn our own sacred rituals that put us in that creative sweet spot. It could be a long, wandering jog. It might be death metal blaring through your headphones at medically-inadvisable volumes. Maybe you require a nap every couple hours. Personally, I find it hard to overlook the strong correlation between my beverage choices and the quality of my work.
What you drink, after all, affects your mind and body just as much as what you eat. Some drinks energize; others enhance your focus or help you relax, all of which can result in higher levels of creativity. Next time you hit a wall, the answer might be found in liquid form. I present to you these 6 creative juices: brain fuel for marketers.
Coffee (obviously). Caffeinated (highly). Hot or cold (depends on the weather). Am I addicted? Surely. But there’s something to be said for any beverage that makes us into sharply focused, pleasant human beings at 8 in the morning. The problem, in my opinion, isn’t coffee itself, but all those fixin’s people like to add. Whipped cream??? Just no. You’ve crossed into dessert territory. Splenda??? Do you even know what that is? No one does. Keep your coffee as close to black as you can stand, and it will be a true friend to your creative process.
Beer. Disclaimer: I’m not advocating anything that will get you fired, so go ahead and check with HR on your company’s whole drinking-during-work-hours policy. That said, stepping away from a project with a cold beer or three can be just the thing to get your mind going in new and unexpected directions. Just be sure to get your thoughts down on paper, lest they fall into the great, drunken abyss that has swallowed up countless brilliant ideas that would have surely solved many of the world’s problems.
Coconut Water. Coconut water is full of naturally-occuring electrolytes that keep your body hydrated. And when your body is happy, your brain works better, and can excel at higher mental functions, like creative thinking.
Kombucha. People liken the taste of Kombucha to everything from a mild vinegar to an old foot. But those who swear by its health benefits claim it boosts mental clarity, aids digestion, and can even stop an oncoming cold dead in its tracks, all of which amount to higher productivity. As an added bonus, kombucha contains trace amounts of alcohol, so you can strut around on your high horse looking like a champion of health and vitality while also working up a nice little buzz.
Green Juice. Fresh juice pressed from green fruits and vegetables like spinach, kale, green apple, celery, cucumber, mint, avocado, lemon and ginger will supply your body with nutrients that can help improve brain function. And that little extra bit of cognitive ability might be what takes you over your next creative wall.
Rooibos (Red) Tea. Native to South Africa, Rooibos or red tea is a bit of an acquired taste — it’s got fruity notes with a vanilla tinge, not to go all wine snob on you. Rooibos is particularly healthful even by tea’s high standards, containing 50 times the amount of antioxidants as its green cousin. Health claims notwithstanding, there are few things in this world as comforting as a hot mug of tea in your hands.
And when you need to come up with a killer creative concept, going to your happy place is the best place to start. That’s really the whole point here.