Tap in to your own vein of gold...

Tap into your own vein of gold - your own creative process. Your life will be richer for it... as the richness is found within.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Curiosity Stokes Creativity.

"A good photographer captures the feeling through the lens of what he sees."

One of the easiest ways to tap into your creativity is picture-taking. You are creative and the starting point is just listening to your gut. Use your curiosity as your GPS to explore, seek out and discover. This journey will ignite a spark and inspire you to uncover ideas you never thought you had. It's about listening with your inner ear and accepting what you hear. It can be an act of courage. Photography is easy medium to root out whimsy, musings and ideas which often lead to the aha! moment.

1. Start with what you've got.
I've got a Canon Digital 630A Powershot. I plan on buying a high end digital SLR when I am ready, but not a minute before. I recommend something you are not intimidated with, but rather something you can learn from in a short time frame. Find out what your camera can do so you can move on to HOW. You will be better prepared to buy the right camera when your know what you want and don't have.

2. Take one photo a day.
Follow your curiosity by taking the picture, then ask questions later, like why do I like that. Or not. Use your intuition as your GPS to take you to unexpected, interesting places within and without. Or find a place you love like a favorite park, garden or event as a starting point.

3. Plan the adventure.
Weather is a factor, but don't let the rain dampen the creative spirit; in fact, it can enhance it.

For example, looking at the moody reflection of neon from store fronts hitting a dark, rainy street can be mind blowing. And possibly even more mind blowing in black + white.

4. Pay attention to light.
Light is one of the most important factors when shooting. Photos taken in the early morning or late afternoon create contrast because of the shadows which create a mood and add drama. Consider elongated shadows, fog and glistening dew as nature's props. Noon is a good time to shoot subjects you simply want to document due to the lack of shadow.

5. Stoke the creative fire.
Take pictures of your subject from different angles, and if your camera can do it, from different apertures and shutter speeds. Experiment and make mistakes in order to learn about the how of the camera so you can control what you say and how you say it. If you use a digital camera, view how the picture was taken - from aperture to shutter speed using photo software on your computer.

6. View.
Digital Cameras: after the shoot, download your pictures. Look, learn and listen to what your inner critic is saying. Look at the photo from different vantage points before deciding to keep it or toss it. Can the photo be saved using software to crop, straighten or cut out "dead space?" A useful tool is the histogram which allows you to adjust the light and dark fields. Use photo software to check the shutter speed and aperture. This software is available for free with most digital cameras and is invaluable to educating you to taking better pictures.
For point + shoot and SLR cameras: get your film processed and transferred to a CD using the highest resolution possible. You may have to request this as not all film processing sites do this. Then look at the shots on your computer and follow the same steps as with the digital camera above.

7. Add fuel to the creative fire. Read. Research topics on photography that excite you. Start by using the catalogue at your public library to order your book or DVD online. I will be writing a piece with useful links in a future post.

8. Take a course. Assess your photography level in order to build your knowledge base. Private schools are great as they can quickly ask you a few questions over the phone to discern what level you are at and what course to take. For real beginners, I recommend taking a course through the local school board. They are more affordable and less intimidating. The private schools are best when you want to push your knowledge even further.

9. Have the right equipment. I took my course with only a digital camera while the course we structured around using a digital SLR. While I adapted what I learned to my camera, this put me at a disadvantage. And there were things my instructor could not answer as a digital camera's tools vary and differ from a digital SLR. Now saving up for a top end digital SLR.

10. Join a photography club. Once you have a basic understanding of photography and have a collection of photos you like, joining a club will motivate you to push your limits and increase your understanding. Clubs offer group discussion which is invaluable to see your work more objectively as well as to learn from the work of other members.

11. Go deeper.
Photography is an exciting, easily accessible rabbit hole to enter when discovering your authentic voice in the creative process. Learn to keep a camera with you wherever you go. For the instant pics you want to take on the fly, the point + shoot cameras are best as they are easy to carry.
With time, the operative words - play, fun, explore and discover - will evolve into the a ha moment, the wow factor, surprise + joy as you traverse deeper. Enjoy - the journey IS the destination.

A great link to get you started + stoked:

Laurie Kingdon, graphic designer | Outside-the-Box Graphics | Branding for Your Business.
"Minimal yet direct. Reach for the pulse. Go for the jugular."

Friday, July 30, 2010

The A-ha! Moment Continuum: Summer Reading

So how the hell do you start igniting your divine spark?
So asks Sara Beak on page two of her book,
"The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark." Lick your chops with good reading as she valiantly tries to unravel some of the mysteries behind the magic of the Universe. Start by setting your intention, which is, as she puts it, "a bit like offering an invocation to the universe. When your inner desire aligns with your outer experience, that is where magic and mystery are found.

She claims to have the match to light your divine spark and reading it has certainly lit mine. She writes: "Becoming responsible for my self, for the vibe I give off, feels, well, downright heroic." That stance is an act of courage, particularly during times when one's vibe is on fire, or when you are witnessing your own shooting psychic bullets at anything around you when in fear. Being the witness to it ALL is the only way through. Recognizing that existential moment when you realize how powerful living your life in the present moment really is. It's that point of power. Where you have the power of choice. Make time for this read as you may not want to put this book down.

Happy Summer Reading!

Laurie Kingdon, graphic designer|Brand, Print + Web Media
"Use my creative spark in order to ignite yours."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another A-Ha! Moment

Here's my latest A-ha! moment - rant: here's why you want to pay for good graphic design. I was tweeted this morning by someone who linked me to his blog on tips to design a "professional" logo. We live in transparent times, thanks to social media. Just google "logo design" and a number of blog posts will tell you how. But here's the thing - while I find it exciting to read about and share stories and learn different perspectives in order to find greater clarity, there's a consensus among experienced graphic designers who have been in the industry for a while that good design is going down the tubes. It's true. You see it everywhere on the internet.

Truth be told - it's easy enough to give non-designers a step-by-step approach to design. Take a couple of weeks to learn how to use a vector graphics program to design a logo, or better yet, copy something you like then change it just enough to make it your own. Or find an online store that can sell you a logo for $200. But good luck getting it to reflect your uniqueness against your competition. THAT'S why you hire a professional designer.

Here's the essence of what I bring to the table - to know the rules and maybe even break a few of them - to find that spark, that solution, that answer - that clicks and transcends the ordinary in order to distill it's essence. THAT'S why you hire a trained designer as opposed to using a paint by number "how to" approach to design. Hard to distill YOUR voice or YOUR vision even if you designed it yourself. The right designer will pull those disparate elements together, extract what makes you unique, then Distill. Simplify. Entice. Thrill. To find that element in the design that stops you for a moment to take a better look. Then experience the magic.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Design is evolutionary. Current trends shift with media, political and environmental influences. There is now a greater acceptance for transparent self-expression, even in the corporate world. We are so overwhelmed by the barrage of information out there that we learn to block out most of it. There is now a fresher, less scripted approach in communication. Only information that is relevant to us gets noticed. That touches us deeper and stirs the soul. With communication, some of the rules still apply: keep your message simple enough to remember but with enough impact so people will want to repeat it. The established jargon of rules, regulations and protocol are being replaced with authenticity, clarity and continuity.

1. Authenticity 2. Clarity 3. Continuity

1. Authenticity: When you speak your truth, you will be heard differently as it comes from a place of personal conviction. This invites more authentic dialogue. Personalizing your message to sound less corporate and more human will attract a more attentive audience. Take away the script, speak one's truth and don't follow a corporate mandate or protocol. So that what you say and who you are is the same.

2. Clarity: Your message is clear, concise + easily understood. Clever use of white space to set the stage for the message to be heard. Minimizing the distractions of visual "noise"and making all the elements come together. Matching the voice with the appropriate font.

3. Continuity: Your message is the same on whatever platform you are on. Using the same font across platforms. Positioning your nav bars on the same place on your website.

Coming from a less scripted, more authentic place will bode well to stimulate better communication, inspire personal connectivity through heartfelt rapport and ultimately create credibility + trust with an involved audience.

Laurie Kingdon, graphic designer | Print + Web Media
Outside-the-Box Graphics | 778.839.3755

"Use my creative spark in order to ignite yours."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Creative Spark

How are we inspired? This was the opening question to the topic, "The Creative Spark" on TED Talks, a global forum of intellectuals - artists, writers, philosophers and scientists who elaborate on TED's tag line "ideas worth spreading." What I like about TED is how loosely defined the term creativity is used. It is no longer reserved for artists and musicians, but involves everyone from all disciplines. Follow writer, director and producer J.J. Abram's humorous reverence for his grandfather who had an insatiable sense of curiosity and how it ties in to a mystery box with parallels to the bigger mysteries of life, to marketer Seth Godin's stance on how people who spread ideas, win. This link offers a plethora of conversations on the creative process from a broad spectrum of intellectuals with riveting stories to tell.


Next blog, stay tuned: Attending The Gala Design Award Presentations with Graphic Design Glitterai at Raw Canvas in Vancouver, BC.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Igniting Your Own Spark

How do you ignite that spark that you know lies hidden within you wanting to come out and express itself? First, connect yourself to the present. Get grounded in the now. Let go of expectation and right or wrong.

Second, make time for creative expression. Don't rush it, thinking you've got too many other things to do. Let those "other" things go... for now. Now find a media you love in order to express those ideas, such as keeping a really cool notebook you love to touch and play with. Make time to write in it daily, even if that commitment is 5 minutes a day - do it at the same time each day. Learn to mind map... start with a word or an idea and write it down. Wrap it in a visual bubble then find other words or images associated with it. There's software out there that allows you to mind map, such as oooohhhhhmmyyyygoddddd...

...oops! I just went down a rabbit hole in my attempt to answer this and found a plethora of information on mind mapping on the internet. Vast realms are written about it... I encourage you to research it when time permits. This is where it gets interesting. You can link emails or other documents to your mind mapping source. But let's get back to using your notebook to record your thoughts...
This is really important as you are setting yourself up for inventive thinking... thinking outside your box... and where your own creative process lives. Don't get too ambitious yet as we don't want to short-circuit the flow. What's important is to LOOK FORWARD to this in your day as a contagious act of play. Can lead to a paradigm shift in thinking as it takes you places you would not otherwise go.
When your mind knows time is set aside to do this daily, your anticipation encourages you to come up with an idea or a train of thought you will want to explore further when that play time comes. You often set yourself up knowing you will be writing in your notebook later.