Tick Yes Blog

Tag - design

The Creativity Problem

You may not be the content developer in your business, but chances are that creativity is as much of an issue for you as for writers and designers.

It is easy enough to demand three blog posts a week, countless tweets and new, fresh ideas on how to improve business – but let’s face it; creativity is not a constant – it’s a muscle that can be trained to flex at will. But like the muscles in your arms and legs, creativity needs to rest as well.
Coming up with great ideas sounds easy enough – haven’t we all at some time in our lives come in contact with a great tune, smart design or brilliant ad and thought “why didn’t I think of that?” Coming up with the idea is often considered the easy part, but it’s quite the contrary.
In this day and age, with the Internet and countless digital solutions, we have instant access to most if not all of the worlds’ past creations. Bell invented the phone, but Elisha Gray almost beat him to it. It’s hard to come up with something that is truly “new” as we’re no longer inspired by our direct environment, but by other artists and creators. We borrow and steal a lot, and if you watch this highly recommended TED video, you’ll see that a lot of what is new are just remixes of what has become old (but quite often timeless).

So how can we get ideas? How do we evolve from simply copying others? The fact is that we can get away with quite a lot of “copying” – you may have noticed that a lot of new movies are updated versions of the classics, or modern takes on old series. That new book is mainly based on an old book and the lyrics to that new radio hit is at least ten years old. The trick is to add new value to what is already known. Those complete newborns, the ideas that turn people into billionaires, are few and far between. They are the holy grail of pretty much anything, but more often than not a result of freak chance. If you could plan for these things then you’d already be rich.
Anyway, here is some quick advice to get you started:
Don’t focus too much on originality. It has all been done before, and as we’ve already mentioned, great ideas are usually variations of old ones. Don’t go for completely new; remember that you have to first be inside the box in order to think outside of it.
Don’t stress it. Staring at a screen, trying to come up with a killer idea isn’t always best practice. Go for a walk or get some exercise. Studies show that you will be at your creative peak when you’re the least alert. If you’re a morning person you should try to come up with ideas in the evening for instance. Sometimes sleeping on it might be the best solution.
Mix it up. It’s all about psychological distance. Thinking of something in another way, maybe from the perspective of another person, will allow for great creative ideas. Thinking of something very concrete in an abstract way is another thing you can try – coffee isn’t just a hot beverage that keeps you awake throughout the day, it’s also an important part of the world economy and a great part of our culture.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: chiefexecutive.net, crainerdearlove.com

Twitter’s Grand Design

So Twitter has been quite active recently. It’s what’s to be expected from a network of Twitter’s calibre; as a recently listed company they have quietly introduced a new profile pagedesign to a limited amount of users (a complement to an earlier redesign). As one of the top ten biggest social networks, it was only a matter of time before the little blue bird would make it into the stock exchange, thus constant updates are to be considered a necessity.
 
The new design has however been far too familiar for some users, as it’s quite similar to updates as seen on Facebook and/or Google+. Changes include:

        A larger profile photo and a wider header photo;
        Tweets are no longer arranged vertically, but scattered in a way resembling a news feed;
        A design focusing a lot more on images and video in general;

One might wonder where this is heading. Becoming more image-oriented is one way of taking on competitors like Instagram (and owner Facebook) head on, while changes to the timeline could be a way of making it more compatible with sponsored tweets. Ultimately; these recent updates has made Twitter a significantly competitive communication platform for marketing.

At the time of writing, it’s not sure whether or not all changes will be applicable, but it gets you thinking about the future of social media (in terms of this becoming generic interface) and its impact on the user experience. Competing social networks are moving towards similar end results – they want to connect people, they want users to share quality content, they want ad revenue and they want to be the social network user’s preference over their competitors. Piece of cake?
There are similar problems solved with similar solutions. Twitter started out allowing # and @ in posts, Facebook then followed suit as it’s a great way of connecting users with one another (consumer and brands). If an image oriented interface gives Twitter the opportunity to compete with Instagram, then that might be just what they needed to enhance the network’s functionality. If a profile page design works more effectively than others, then why change a winning concept?
Video is currently receiving a double golden thumbs up award for being the best communication medium, predicted to make out 50% of the total online consumption in 2014 and 69% in 2017 (according to a Cisco study cited by The Guardian). This would have us expect social networks to adapt accordingly. Will this result in a number of social media platforms looking pretty much the same? And how will they evolve from there? Either they fall back on their respective niches, or they merge into some kind of super network. We can make great things happen if we collaborate, or is that being overly optimistic?
What we see is the evolution of social media – the survival of the fittest. In China, social network RenRen took a swing at competitor Kaixin by buying the kaixin.com URL and use it in quite an unethical way. You’d like to think that this is an exception, but in the future we could be watching the ultimate showdown of the social media networks – a dirty fight to the death. Because at the end of the day, users don’t really care about the company providing the service or product. They want solutions to THEIR problems, and the one who provides these solutions will be the last one standing.
Twitter’s updates may have it looking more like its bigger competitors, but this is all part of evolution. In the end, it’s not about who has the sharpest teeth, it’s about who produces the best ideas – the best results.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: dribbble.com, crave.cnet.co.uk