By Tom Aschauer, Vice President, Executive Creative Director
They told me last January that I was going to have to write a blog post about “sources for creative inspiration — where do you go?” Said it was going to be due in November. It’s now the last week of October. I leave for vacation in one day, the blog has to be done before my return and I’m supposed to be at a shoot all day tomorrow, and I’m just sitting down to write this now.
So let’s begin with source number one for creative inspiration: deadlines.
There’s nothing quite like an impending deadline to squeeze an idea out of a clogged noggin. Probably not the best source for inspiration, but none the less, there it is.
Source number two: everything else in the world.
Sounds like a cheap cop out? Well kinda.
See, inspiration really can come from just about anywhere. It’s why, come tax time, I get to write off all the movies, music, magazines, soda pop, garden equipment, power tools and dog shampoo that I buy. Or at least that’s what my accountant tells me.
The only problem is, while inspiration may be everywhere and in everything, you’ve still got to find that particular inspiration to begin with. The best inspiration that exists for your next project may come from a rusty, old shoe polish advertisement hanging by the side of the road in Fredonia, Arizona.
Problem is you live in Indiana.
Which just leads us back to deadlines again. The more time you give creatives to find that great idea and source of inspiration, the better. Trouble is, sometimes you just don’t have forever. Clients tend to get a little jumpy when they ask when they can see something and you respond with, “How’s about 12 months from now?”
Oh wait, here’s a good source of creative inspiration that just popped into my head. Jealousy.
Jealousy is a great motivator. Some of the most inspired moments I’ve had have come right after I put down a One Show or Communication Arts’ annual. You see all that great work and you begin to think, “Well hell, I can write stuff like that.”
Whether you can is something else, but we’re not talking about talent here. Just inspiration.
So that’s about it. Great sources of creative inspiration come from 1. Deadlines; 2. Everything on the planet; and 3. Jealousy.
Oh yeah, and there’s Google. (Or does that fall under everything on the planet?)
Oh, and there’s the threat of losing your job. That can be pretty inspiring.
And the Addys.
And cough syrup.
So that’s about it. Deadlines, everything on the planet, jealousy, Google, the threat of losing your job, the Addys and cough syrup. You put just the right combination of those elements into your next creative project and you can pretty much assure yourself of a best-of-show no matter what awards show you enter.
The right combination — that’s the tricky part.