12 Rules of Creative Thumb

While there is no shortcut to creativity Nirvana, one can get there by experience, hard work dedication and following some thought provoking, non-scientific statements titled the 12 Rules of Creative Thumb

Everything has rules.  A game like football or baseball has rules. Batman has one rule. The DMV has too many. Even the Cider House has rules. These creative rules serve as a guidepost for creative professional and words we at Brandtatorship live by when forging ideas for our clients. So gather around the blogging campfire while we breakdown the myths of the 12 Rules of Creative Thumb.

1. If you’re not open to the unexpected, you will not find it.

Have faith.  The ideas are out there, but you have to be open to receiving them.  Glass half full kind of stuff.

2. Even with all the tools, never presume you know everything about the trade.

Always be learning.  The moment you start thinking you know the newest technology and get complacent you're already two steps behind.

3. If it's offbeat or surprising, it's probably useful.

Be disruptive.  With so much visual noise competing for your consumers attention most times the offbeat stands alone.  Some call it 180 degree thinking. We call it shitting gold.

4. Make it sticky.

Memorable stays with people.  History is filled with moments like, "What does the fox say?", "Where's the beef?" and "(Luke) I am your Father"  Make it sticky and your clients will love you.

5. It’s difficult to see the entire picture, when you are inside the frame.

Play with your head up, otherwise, it's difficult to see the entire ice. Wayne Gretzky was considered the greatest goal scorer of all time, but what many don't realize is that he holds the NHL record for the most assists in a single season. He accomplished this feat by seeing the entire ice surface and passing the puck to teammates one stride ahead of the oncoming defenseman.

6. Good goes on the fridge.  Extraordinary fills it.

Great ideas can come from anywhere. The big idea isn’t obvious, until it is.  There are many safe options to choose from and those safe options while nice only adorn the fridge like schoolwork from our youth. It's only those that are unexpected and go further that fill that valuable space within.

7. If you don’t want to follow the rules, you still have to know them before you create your own.

There’s no substitute for experience, but you need to know the rules before you break them.  A musician learns theory, scales, and practices music composed by other before he or she can improvise on their own.  Harry Connick Jr. is the embodiment of this rule.  He's classically trained, and yet is magical on the keys.

8. Draw what you see, not what you think you see.

This rule is all about paying attention. For example: A person about to draw an apple needs to draw the apple before them, not the apple they preconceive in their mind.  By paying attention to the negative space between the table and the apple or the way the apple curls at the top we can all learn to draw. Sounds simple, but often times we revert to answers based on our life experiences rather than looking at what information is presented to us at the time... right under our own noses. 

9. Small discoveries aren’t impossible. They’re powerful.

The big idea isn’t obvious, until it is.  Create opportunity.  Every project, no matter how small, is an opportunity to be creative. Just watch the opening credits to Monty Python and the Holy Grail–it's a great example.

10. What makes the difference is the yards after the catch.

A receiver in football is supposed to catch the ball. That's expected.  It's the moments after the catch that make the difference at the expense of becoming vulnerable.  He fights for the first down, the sideline or 5 more precious yards to get into field goal range. The defense tries to strip the ball.  The job gets harder.  So protect, Just be sure to hang onto the ball and use what you’ve got. Better. 

11. Serious creative is about as useful as a fart in a mitten.

Have fun. We are in a creative business and get to wear black, listen to music and be sarcastic.  If you're not having fun then something's amiss.

12. If you’re hitting the bullseye every time, the target is probably too close.

Raise your own bar. 


These rules were inspired by the list My 10 Adopted Rules of Thumb created by Wendell Castle – an American furniture designer and artist. This is our creative take. Thanks for coming back to visit. Why not consider subscribing to the RSS feed?