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November 14 2011

05:00

The Theory of Information & Inspiration for creative endeavors

As creatives, we rely heavily on inspiration. There are so many sources for inspiration, and sifting through them all can be a daunting, time consuming task. While inspiration definitely shouldn’t be downplayed, we can miss the mark easily by thinking that immersing ourself in the creative work of others will simply saturate our minds with creative ideas.

It’s important to consider that true creativity, at its source, comes from within. Whether it is influenced by other creative work is irrelevant to the creative quality of the work.

Cybernetics

For the sake of our conversation, cybernetics (Wikipedia link) is the study of working within a constrained system of control. Cybernetics is an interesting study that spans many disciplines, and therefore can be generalized to almost any practice. A subjective definition that illustrates the scope of cybernetics comes from Larry Richards at George Washington University’s American Society for Cybernetics: “a way of thinking about ways of thinking”.

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So how can I use it, practically?

Instead of focusing on what cybernetics is, let’s think about how the theory applies to a creative project.

When we approach a creative project, as we have stated before, we attempt to look for inspiration. But perhaps we are going about this searching in an incomplete way; instead of searching for external inspiration as is our original tendency, a creative cybernetic approach would attempt to search for inspiration within the project itself. Instead of thinking about what the project is (a cool looking website, a great looking poster, a logo), instead we look at what the project does. We look at the form and pattern, control and communication, and we in turn begin to create towards this.

A way that we can leverage this towards inspiration is by introducing artificial constraints within our creative projects. This was the premise behind Roy Ascott’s two-year Groundcourse program. Students would begin by studying illustration with given constraints that were often bizarre. For instance: “If a cough is represented by 5 jagged lines, draw the BBC Time signature“. The bizarre nature of these assignments was far different than traditional art assignments that may focus instead on previously created art (such as a prompt similar to the following: “draw a picture that is influenced by cubism”). The assignments continued to become more involved in the first year, moving towards 3-dimensional sculptures. In the second year, the students were asked to apply the constraints of a system to themselves by literally taking on a different personality than their own. For ten weeks, students would act and respond in opposition to their ingrained “nature”.

The program forced students to understand the power of control and systematic constraints, and the ways in which to work in and out of those systems.

In your next project, begin by examining the function and purpose of the finalized piece of work. What are the possible (both common and uncommon, expected and unexpected, “good” and “bad”) directions? What, if any, are the constraints that are already naturally on the project? What rules exist (both from a media format sense as well as a subjective, imposed sense)? What are some restrictions you could introduce that might provide a more finite sense of control over the project itself?

Conclusion

At the end of the day, inspiration is an elusive beast. We have ontological models of how to become inspired; perhaps we are more creative than we give ourselves credit for, and only when we feel constraint and pressure can we actually release our creativity.

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The Theory of Information & Inspiration for creative endeavors

October 09 2010

10:00

40 Informative Blogs For Developers and Designers

If you are a web designer and you are looking for resources, inspirations, designing tutorials or want to keep yourself updated with the current trends in this field then you don’t need to worry because Internet is full of blogs related to web designing. You will find a huge number of blogs featuring tips, tricks and how-to’s on daily basis. Today we have collected 40 awesomely informative blogs which will bring out the best designer from you. Make sure to follow all these for updates on latest trends in designing industry.

1. A List Apart

alistapart

2. Nettuts+

net

3. Six Revisions

sixrevisions

4. Smashing Magazine

smashingmagazine

5. InstantShift

instantshift

6. SpoonGraphics

spoongraphics

7. Pro Blog Design

problogdesign

8. Webdesigner Depot

webdesignerdepot

9. Web Design Ledger

webdesignledger

10. DesignM.ag

designm

11. Naldz Graphics

naldzgraphics

12. Hongkiat Blog

hongkiat

13. Speckyboy Design Magazine

speckyboy

14. Design Shard

designshard

15. Just Creative Design

justcreativedesign

16. Noupe Design Blog

noupe

17. BittBox

bittbox

18. Function

wefunction

19. Fuel Your Creativity

fuelyourcreativity

20. Web Designer Wall

webdesignerwall

21. Onextrapixel

onextrapixel

22. Think Vitamin

thinkvitamin

23. AEXT.NET

aext

24. Designrfix

designrfix

25. Paper Leaf Design

paper-leaf

26. Tutorial9

tutorial9

27. Vandelay Design Blog

vandelaydesign

28. Design Instruct

designinstruct

29. Line25

line25

30. Design Shack

designshack

31. Abduzeedo

abduzeedo

32. Web Resources Depot

webresourcesdepot

33. SitePoint Blog

sitepoint

34. CSS-Tricks

css-tricks

35. Design Reviver

designreviver

36. Devlounge

devlounge

37. UX Booth

uxbooth

38. Garcya.us

garcya

39. Site Sketch 101

sitesketch101

40. Smashingapps

smashingapps

October 01 2010

10:00

40 Super-Cool Infographics You Absolutely Have To See

Infographics can be a great source for learning new facts and getting design inspiration. I even know several web designers who frequently make infographics to practice some skills. In this article we’ll be having a look at a great collection of these that you definitely should see! Here’s something for everyone.

Design can be complicated and design can be simple. By making infographics you can practice using your skills, setting up information in a new and creative way along with educating others in a fun way. There are lots and lots of these out there. This time we’ve decided to simply show you some of the better ones we could find, on any topic. Here are infographics related to design, social media, economy and all sorts of other topics.

Have a look at how the information has been set up. Sometimes these can look just like a mind map or brainstorming notes, while they other times are set up in a more specific way. A lot of the techniques use can translate well into both mind maps, web design and other creative areas.

We hope these can inspire and teach you a new thing or two.

Make sure to click the images to go see the full-sized ones. Several of these are very big and very detailed.

Enjoy!

1. The colors of the top 100 web brands

2. Yahoo developer network metro map

3. How Google works

4. The boom of social sites

5. The cmo’s guide to the social landscape

6. Do you need a new logo?

7. The 2010 social networking map

8. A modern history of human communication

9. How much do we really recycle?

10. Money in the food industry

11. Education by the numbers

12. Time wasted on loading unnecessary data

13. Green through the ages

14. Farmville vs. real farms

15. Facebook: facts you probably didn’t know

16. The most widely spoken languages

17. What BP could have bought with all the money they lost

18. Rock ‘n’ Roll metro map

19. Largest bankruptcies in history

20. What are people buying online?

21. The human tongue

22. Digital lifestyle

23. Serial killers

24. Twitter users profile

25. Animals & Humans: What’s the difference?

26. Healthcare costs by state

27. Labor day by the numbers

28. What makes good information design?

29. Nurses by the numbers

30. Can I afford an iPad?

31. A guide to buying your own island

32. The life of a cruise ship

33. What’s cheaper now than it was in 2000?

34. The bumpy rise of a start-up

35. The perfect pour

36. How do I win rock, paper, scissors every time?

37. Rubiks cube

38. Mythical creatures

39. The display ad tech landscape

40. Music preference by gender

Those were our picks of 40 really cool infograhics. We’d love to hear from you!

Which one did you like the best? – and can you see these translating into your area of design?

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