Artisan Blog

9 Apps to Boost Creativity

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

9 Apps to Boost Creativity

As creative professionals, it’s important to be able to generate a steady stream of new ideas. Professional creativity means having a regular creative practice. It asks that you cultivate a life in which creativity can take root. It means thinking playfully even when you may not be in the mood. If you encounter a creative block, you can take a break, find inspiration in the outdoors, and come back with a fresh perspective.

You can also utilize the many tools, exercises, and habits to give you a jumpstart as needed. Here are a few free or low-cost apps you can download to your mobile device and use when you need a quick creative spark.

Blip Synthesizer

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a musician, riffing on musical instruments is a proven way to limber up the creative areas of your brain. This Android app is one of the simplest music-making apps available - it turns simple visual patterns into catchy miniature melodies. If you’re deep in a detail-oriented project or need to revive a spirit of play, it’s great for a quick hit of inspiration and joy.

Brainsparker

Created by the creative and leadership coach Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker is one of the more popular and widely-used ideation toolkits in the agency world. With 250 built-in creative prompts, it’s a randomized card game that facilitates group or solo brainstorming on the go.

Coolors

A new color combination can carry a bounty of new moods and ideas. If you’re a visual artist or graphic designer, you’re working on a new brand package, or you’re at all energized by color combinations, give this palette generator a try.

Evernote

The more deftly you can organize your information, the more cognitive bandwidth you’ll have left over to make connections and get fresh ideas from your data. With its robust integrations, this massively popular note-taking app is a go-to if you want to keep all your raw material in one place.

GLTCH

In the art world, glitch art is a movement based on digitally manipulating images, often in weird or irreverent ways. With this app, you can warp, corrupt, and mutilate any image you choose. It can help you see old concepts in new ways, and it’s a lot of fun.

Insight Timer

A regular practice of mindfulness meditation is one of the most time-tested habits to calm and clear the mind and to take heart in the face of the unexpected. With goal setting, rich analytics, hundreds of free guided meditations, and a worldwide community of practitioners, Insight Timer is one of the most popular and versatile apps for meditators at all stages.

Oblique Strategies

Created by the musician Brian Eno and polymath Peter Schmidt and inspired by the art movements Surrealism, Dada, and Fluxus, this set of cryptic and ironic instructions can help you take your work down unexpected and counter-intuitive avenues. Variations on Oblique Strategies exist for iPhone, Android, the web, and Slack.

Simplemind

Creativity is a connection, the art of forging new connections between existing points. This user-friendly mind-mapping program can help visualize clusters of ideas and information, making it easier to spot patterns, draw new throughlines, and find order in apparent chaos.

UX Companion

The multi-faceted discipline of user experience brings together some of the most vital and relevant thought in the areas of design, technology, research, and human behavior. This annotated glossary of UX concepts provides a useful introduction to ideas that are shaping the way we interact with our constructed worlds.

At Artisan Creative, we believe creativity should be fun, and we believe in sharing the resources that help the pros keep their creativity flowing. Contact us today to empower your mind and energize your creative career.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 486th issue of our a.blog. 

 


Are you a Digital Nomad?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are you a Digital Nomad?

As humans and especially as creative professionals, we must learn to maintain a delicate balance between security and adventure, as our minds and hearts deem appropriate. If you are the sort of person who tilts toward adventure, or you crave a lot more risk in your life and career than you have currently, have you ever considered the life of a digital nomad?

Digital nomads take advantage of the wondrous interconnectedness provided by flourishing digital technologies. The consumer internet has only been around for a bit more than two decades, and these digital nomads live to explore new landscapes both virtual and geographical.

To be a digital nomad, one condition is to hone the skills you can do remotely, such as web design and development, copywriting, social media marketing, or any other creative trade that requires only an agile mind and a laptop. You must also cultivate your adaptability, learn to strategize, and develop a whole range of travel and interpersonal skills, some of which are so specific that they don't have names.

You can start to live a successful life as a digital nomad, with all the romance and adventure that come with it, if you can master these four core principles.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Before you travel the world on your own steam, get smart with your money. Eliminate as much debt as possible and cut expenses to the bone. Own only the property you absolutely need - place most of your items in storage, and if you own a home, consider renting it out on AirBnB for extra income. If you don't own much, don't owe much, and lead a simple life, you will have an easier transition to becoming a digital nomad.

Plan Ahead - Take Care of the Details

The life of a digital nomad involves lots of improvisation. That's much easier to manage if you handle as many potential variables as you can before you go. Figure out your communication strategy - how will you stay in touch with clients and creative recruiters on foreign soil? Plan your itinerary - where are you staying, and where can you stay if those plans go awry? Do you need travel insurance, or extra guidance and protection? Use your networking skills to find a community of mentors and peers who have overcome some of the challenges of being digital nomads. Their friendship, camaraderie, and insight will make your travel experience less lonely and more fun and fruitful.

Put Your Assets to Work

As a digital nomad, you won't have access to the same professional networks you would if you were anchored in one location or community. You can make up for this if you create assets that will work in your favor when you're traveling or go offline. Make sure your online resume and digital portfolio are attracting new business while you sleep (especially if you're sleeping in an unusual new time zone). If you have unique skills to share, you might create an online course - this can generate passive income to help you get through any rough patches.

Keep an Open Mind

The most important skill of a digital nomad is adaptability. This bold lifestyle will teach you how to embrace unpredictability, dive into the unknown, and change your mind on the fly.

"Travel has a way revealing that much of what you’ve heard about the world is wrong," says Rolf Potts, author of the acclaimed travel lifestyle manual Vagabonding. " Even on a day-to-day level, travel enables you to avoid setting limits on what you can and can’t do. On the road, you naturally ‘play games’ with your day: watching, waiting, listening; allowing things to happen. There’s no better opportunity to break old habits, face latent fears, and test out repressed facets of your personality."

At Artisan Creative, we can help you conquer the challenges that matter to you as you claim the life and career you want. Contact us today to learn more.

 

 



The Power of Mental Representations

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Power of Mental Representations

As a child, you were an adept and effortless daydreamer, immersing yourself in your imaginary experiences with the dedication and enthusiasm of a film director. The richness of your inner experiences could rival that of real life. The skills associated with making mental representations of imaginary experiences tends to fade with age, and if you deliberately cultivate them, they can help you make more mindful and deliberate decisions to change the course of your career.

In a piece for Aeon, the philosophy professor Armin W. Schultz ponders what evolutionary purposes our mental representations might serve. Inner movies, he writes, "allow the organism to reason about what the right thing to do is. Very often, organisms that rely on a system of reflexes to manage their interactions with the world have to cope with much redundancy. Many perceptions of the world call for the same behavioral response, and many behavioral responses to the world are variations on a theme." If you can learn to think outside the restrictions of your unconscious reflexes, you can open new possibilities your reptilian brain didn't know you had.

Here are a few ways to use these skills to your professional advantage.

Make a Mental Movie

"Let’s say you are offered a new job in a different city, and you need to figure out whether to accept it," Arvin writes. "How are you going to do this? Most likely, you will think about what the job offer means to you: what will the new city be like? How fulfilling will the new job be? What about the pay and other benefits? How does all of this compare with where you live and work now? It’s not trivial, in the end, you’ll manage to make up your mind."

Experience, in your mind, the details of a typical day on the job, how your life and mindset will shift because of it, and what your work and your achievements will mean to you, intellectually and emotionally.

Running elaborate mental simulations of possible future experiences - taking it three-dimensional - can give your gut more information to work with. Sometimes, you may end up "going with your gut" in the end, even after all the rumination. Which is still a good exercise to have gone through.

Try Different Models

There is much wisdom to be found in consciously adopting certain intellectual frameworks, and then shopping around until you find one that is particularly useful to you.

When working through a difficult decision, experiment with a range of possible scenarios, based on different variables. You can then make a more wholly informed decision, and prepare yourself for different realities that may present themselves.

Try different sensory modalities, as well. If you are not a visual thinker and you are more comfortable focusing on sounds and feelings, try hearing or feeling your way through a decision. You may get some fresh insight just from imagining the physical sensations walking through your new office space.

Don't Mistake the Map for the Territory

Our mental representations never square precisely with reality. For difficult questions about your career, sometimes the most powerful answer is "I don't know." Then actively seek out “to know”.

When you work with mental representations, acknowledge that your thinking is biased by factors both conscious and unconscious. Do plenty of research and always keep your mind open to new information. Mental representations empower us to anticipate change, including change we never could have expected.

With the rise of AR and VR technologies, we may soon be able to work with simulations that are even more rich and useful. Be prepared to keep dreaming bigger and better.

At Artisan Creative, we love to share all the tools that can empower you to have the career and the life you want. 

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 484th issue of our a.blog.  Get in touch today to continue the conversation.

 


Turning Your Passion Into a Career

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Turning Your Passion Into a Career

How do you turn your passion into a career? People are often advised to follow their dreams and passions, but let’s face it--turning a passion into a career is easier said than done.

In the first blog of our new feature, Artisan Advice, we spoke with Basir, a writer we recently placed at our client’s Texas location. Basir is one of the few who turned his passion into a career.

When Basir was young, he voraciously read automotive blogs and publications. He dreamt of being an auto journalist and reviewing cars but ended up pursuing business and marketing--that is until he took a 180-degree turn and decided to chase his passion.

He’s since worked for the likes of the BBC and TIME in New York, startups in San Francisco and now as a writer working on automotive with our client. So how did he manage to achieve his dreams and what did it take to get there?

Find a Mentor

As a fresh graduate, Basir landed a writing job at the BBC. Their past interns were mostly journalism majors and lacked the same thing--automotive knowledge. Basir’s deep knowledge of the automotive industry impressed the Editor in Chief so much he hired him without any writing experience. Thanks to the Editor’s faith, Basir learned firsthand the skills needed to write well. Many people we’ve spoken to have shared similar experiences with us. Do you have a mentor or a former supervisor who has taken a chance on you?

Start Your Own Blog

Starting your own blog is solid advice, especially when you need to bolster your portfolio or submit some samples to an application. Think about what topics you’re passionate about and start a Medium or Wordpress site. “Your blog doesn’t have to be the next big thing, but when it’s time to apply to gigs you can send your samples. It develops your skills, too. Not only that, but clients can see how serious you are.” In Basir’s case, it’s clear that clients will take a chance if they see potential, but you need to prove yourself, too. A blog is a great way to quickly convey your interest and passion before you even get to the interview stage.

Know Your Value When You Lose Inspiration

How do you place a value on something you write or design and how do you know if it was a success? If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a creative rut, take a look back at some of your successes and see how many times your article was viewed or shared. Seeing the fruits of your labor and results can help you to feel inspired again.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 482nd issue of our a.blog.  Get in touch today and start the conversation!



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