I am in the business of good ideas. Some people look at my business and see that I make flowers or print stationery or plan parties. I believe, however, that all of those things are actually by-products of what I actually sell – which are good ideas. And let me tell you… good ideas are hard to come by! So, when the client signs the contract and looks me in the eye waiting for me to spit out a truck-load of good ideas that I’ve been saving up just for them, the panic sets in. How will I come up with the best new ideas? What if I run out? Really… I think this ALL. THE. TIME. Since the well hasn’t dried up just yet, I thought I’d share a little bit of my good-idea-making strategy.

Step 1: Seek a “fixed point in space.”

First, I seek out my “fixed point in space”. This is my terminology for the one thing about the design that cannot change or be missed. It may be a color or an object or a font… it doesn’t matter. This is the keystone for me and once I have it in place, I can move to step two.

Step 2: Immerse myself in an inspiring environment

This means different things at different times. It can be a museum or gallery, a new restaurant or hotel, a travel destination, a great book or movie or even a store or website. An inspiring environment doesn’t have to have anything to do with design or be Instagram-worthy. It only needs to be a place where you are visually pleased in some capacity. When you are in this wonderful place, you can move to step three…

Step 3: Stop thinking about the design

While this may seem counter-intuitive, it is crucial. This is just about giving yourself some time and space for the ideas to generate. The race for the perfect idea pretty often will lead you to something
that is obvious or forced. Just a little bit of air between the brain cells can work wonders in the creative journey.

Step 4: Put it down on paper

When the kernels start popping, it is time to… put it down on paper. Start with your fixed point and then map your other ideas around it. It is ok if they are totally crazy or may feel off base. Once you see them all in once place (grab an image, make a sketch, snap a photo), you will begin to find the commonalities and unification amongst the things on your map. Because you let your ideas air out a bit, you’ll find that they are less likely to be the same things you’ve seen in a magazine or on Pinterest which are already pre-organized and sorted for you. It is the “absence of sort” that will lead you to something really new and exciting… a.k.a. the really-good-you-are-worth-every-penny idea!

Want to find more in-roads to inspiration? Join me for Wedding and Event Design this fall (online or in-person in NYC) to build your design foundation.

Lindsay Landman (@LindsayLandman) is the founder of Lindsay Landman Events.

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