Whether you’re a designer or a copywriter, as creatives we can hit walls. Creativity comes in bursts of inspiration. It’s hard to tell what will spark it.
Sometimes inspiration can come from something as simple as an image or a font pairing. But other times, it helps us to take a deep dive into the more abstract concepts of design. And it’s important to remind ourselves why design matters to every aspect of our business and the world we live in.
So where can we turn for that kind of creative inspiration?
TED, of course.
T.E.D. (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is the nonprofit that spreads ideas in the form of short, powerful talks. The talks breakdown high-level concepts into bite-size insights that make us see things differently.
When anyone on our team comes across a talk worth watching we shared in Slack. In fact, you’ll find some of our favorite TED talks on design in the list below.
In this 22 minute presentation, sociologist-turned-designer David Carson reminds us that design can evoke emotion, especially in the context in which it is consumed. Both marketers and designers need to understand that people can receive a powerful message from your creative work even before they begin to read.
The takeaway for designers is that even the smallest details like colors and fonts communicate emotion. Whether you’re creating an ad for a maganize or landing page for a wordpress plugin, don’t design in a vacuum. Observe your own work in the same environment others will see it and use it in. Make sure your creative work, in its real-world context, is sending the message you intend to send.
When podcaster and author, Manoush Zomorodi, had trouble getting her creative juices flowing, she wondered: What happens to us when we get bored? And what would happen if we never got bored?
In this 17 minute talk, Zomorodi explains that according to neuroscience, when you get bored you ignite a network in your brain called the “default mode” and we do something called “autobiographical planning.”
What that means is when you are bored your mind subconsciously starts to set goals and solve problems. In other words, boredom sparks creativity. So, what’s the take-home message for designers?
If boredom sparks creativity, multitasking kills creativity. If you want to go into creative mode, turn off your smartphone’s notifications, stop checking email, close your google calendar, and stay off of social media. Just slow down. Be bored. And according to science, you’ll go into creative mode.
In under than 5 mins, marketer Renny Gleeson demonstrates how, through design, brands can improve their customer experience with something as simple as a creative 404 page.
The take-home message for designers is that little customer interactions matter. Every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to build your company’s brand and engage your customers. And when it comes to ecommerce platforms there isn’t any aspect that won’t benefit from good design.
In just over 13 minutes, designer Kevin Bethune shows us that all designers have four pivotal superpowers: x-ray vision, shapeshifting, extrasensory perception (ESP), and the ability to make others superhuman. Bethune argues design unlocks solutions to problems. If you want to succeed in business you must use design to emotionally connect your customers to your product.
What’s the take-home message here? When designers are given space in the workplace to thrive and grow, as well as a seat at the business strategy table, companies can take full advantage of their innovative, problem-solving superpowers.
In under 17 minutes, Professor Sheena Iyengar presents her studies on “choice overload”. She shows us that giving your customers too many options wears them down. Her research demonstrates that when you offer your customers too many choices they often freeze up and walk away.
The take-home message for designers is that too many choices kill conversions. Whether we’re talking about a storefront or Amazon, you have to take choice overload into account when you design your customer experience from point-of-sale through order fulfillment.
In short 6 minutes, information designer Tommy McCall shares his insights on the evolution of infographics. McCall says “graphics that help us think faster, or see a book’s worth of information on a single page, are the key to unlocking new discoveries.”
The take-home message is: know that the infographics you create are not just fun, they have the power to demystify even the most complex ideas and concepts. As a designer, you have the unique ability to create charts and diagrams that tap into people’s visual cortex. This allows people to process mountains of data in a split second.
Wrapping It Up
The famous designer Massimo Vignelli once said “The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design.”
We hope these videos gave you some creative nourishment, as well as remind you how important design is to your business and the world around us. But more importantly, we hope you stay inspired and stay in the fight.
Greg Roth is the Head of Marketing at UniTel Voice and the Editor of the blog Startup Stockpile. As a marketer and an entrepreneur, he loves helping businesses discover new apps and use technology to grow.
**The views & opinions expressed in this guest post are of the guest author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of the Design Roast community as a whole.**