What was going through Alice’s head before she stepped through the looking glass? Was she contemplating a homework assignment or her upcoming visit to the dentist? I doubt it. Although Alice in this case, is a fictional character the same thought process can be related to that of a real person. Alice’s mind was free and open to exploration. Being so young, she had not developed a realistic understanding of the world yet. Her mind was open to wonder and imagination. Why else would she have followed a rabbit sporting a timepiece down his rabbit hole. No one really knows what she was thinking that day, except for Alice of course but what we do know is her mind was free of inhibitions. She had allowed her mind to accept the seed that would open a magical world without restrictions.
And just as Alice stepped through the looking glass into a world of imagination, so do we as designers need to fall into a time warp of our own. We need to free our minds and revert back to a child-like state. Free to explore without the clutter of our overbearing consciousness. When we clear our minds completely and unlock our subconscious, the world and everything in it becomes new again. This is how simple creativity is unlocked.
Take time out of your busy day to go to a park or the beach and sit alone with a fairy tale book and think of nothing but the simplicity of the words. You’ll be surprised how open your mind becomes to possibilities. Time outside is one of the best stimulants for imagination because the natural world provides endless avenues of exploration. Be that kid in a candy store again. Eyes wide open to all the new sounds, smells, and color. Look at things in a new light –– without limitation. Try to remember that first trip you took to a new place where everything was new and different. Remember how excited you were to see things that you hadn’t seen before. That’s what we need to do as designers. Look at things as if you were seeing it for the first time.
Creativity comes from the inner depths of our sub conscious. It’s like a seed that will only sprout if given the right nourishment. Throw out realistic understandings of how the world works and dream a little. Given the opportunity to dream and play, the mind will begin to flower and grow. Allow your imagination to be reawakened and it will flourish.