Head gift designer Suzie Hackney knows a thing or two about having to come up with exceptional ideas on a daily basis. Let's find out what it takes to design an entire gift range whilst maintaining a high level of creativity. If you're in need of some inspiration for your own project, this just might be for you …
I have until when?
Creativity and deadlines seem so contrary, yet they are bound to each other in daily life. When you are about to start a creative project it is crucial to set a finishing date. Otherwise you'll get distracted and might lose sight of what you once were hoping to achieve. Some of us are blessed with great self-discipline, others thrive on short deadlines. When it comes to creating something, always keep in mind that you can't force ideas. They take time. Depending on the size of the project this could be weeks or even months. The entire gift range for Easter and Mother's Day 2017 was created in around 6 weeks with a total of up to 5 people working on it.
In order to set yourself up for success, allow enough time for ideas to develop. Inspiration is known to happen while you're actually doing the work – so, no more excuses, and get started!
Best laid-plans …
In the beginning, you want to have a vision of what your project will look like so think of the steps you need to get there. Being creative means being open to new things all the time. So be prepared to scrap some of your initial ideas and embrace new ones. Fresh ideas will certainly come to you along the way and it's okay to deviate from the original plan.
The design team may have decided on a theme in their first meeting but this doesn't mean they have to stick to it. Look at the briefing as your starting point and your theme will evolve throughout the process. Suzie and her team have mastered bringing all the different styles together to create a collection that is diverse as well as harmonic.
You may know the feeling: you're deeply committed to a project but creativity has deserted you! Luckily, there are a couple of things we can learn from the design team.
1. You are not alone
This is not only heart-warming but is also truly relieving to know.
The gifts design team consists of a large group of talented people who are in-house designers, freelancers as well as interns who come on board for short-term projects. They are not afraid to share their ideas and cherish the creative influences of everyone's diverse backgrounds.
Whether you're planning your own herb garden and don't know what plants look good together or you're about to throw a birthday party for your little niece and are unsure what theme to pick – there are always like-minded people who've been in similar situations who can give great advice. Ask your friends and family for their opinion; brainstorming can bring the best ideas to light.
For the design of the 2017 Mother's Day Knot Wraps, various buyers and designers were asked to find out what their Mum’s favourite flowers were, bringing a lovely personal touch to the collection.
2. Think outside the (hat) box
Challenge yourself and try new ideas. It feels nice to do what you're good at. If you want to grow with your project don't feel afraid to experiment and learn new things. One way to do that is by looking at where you get your inspiration from. Is it the same blog or Pinterest board? Maybe it's time to go to the library and dig up some hidden treasures …
The design team use a plethora of resources, such as vintage pattern archives for inspiration. Using different sources also adds a lovely variety of styles to each collection. At Lush, all gifts are pretty on the inside as well as on the outside. The thoughtfully designed and handmade products you can find inside also inspire the packaging.
3. Take an inspiration trip
Still feeling stuck? Maybe it's time to pack your things – and leave the city!
Suzie and her team go on inspiration trips to places all over the world. A new environment can spark ideas and lead to new ways to approach your work. Suddenly, everything is inspiring: the foreign culture, the (sometimes unusual) food, the lights, the noise, the scents.
If you can't travel every time you are craving for new input, just take your next holiday as a chance to absorb as much information as possible. Walk a little slower than you're used to and take in the scenery, look closer and discover details you would otherwise have missed.
Snap some pictures with your phone and create an 'inspiration folder'. If you're feeling old school you might want to bring your sketchbook with you.
However you go about your own creative process, trust in yourself, learn from others and keep on looking for inspiration in the most unusual places.