The process of thinking about and coming up with ideas, lots of ideas is brainstorming. It can be a group activity or something done by an individual. The brainstorming process is often aided by group discussion (bouncing ideas off each other), meditation, jotting down ideas, creating a mood board, doing thumbnail sketches, drawing a mind map, or just taking a walk.
In the field of Web design, graphic design and desktop publishing, brainstorming typically involves meeting with a client to gather information on a project then using any number of brainstorming techniques or creativity exercises to come up with a variety of ideas for logos, graphics, or layouts for whatever design project is being pursued.
Brainstorming is about problem-solving by first coming up with many ideas then whittling down that long list of ideas to find the few worth seriously pursuing. For a designer, brainstorming may involve coming up with ideas for a logo for a lawn service that doesn't involve pictures of lawn mowers or thinking up ways to redesign a product brochure that incorporates a lot of new information without resorting to changing the physical size of the brochure (fit more into the same space). It can also involve brainstorming ways to cut costs without compromising the quality and impact of the finished print or Web project.
How to Brainstorm
- Creative Thinking uses the acronyn saedi (ideas, backwards) to help with the brainstorming process.
- Brainstorming in Graphic Design covers the goal of brainstorming, who to brainstorm with, and how to brainstorm.
- How to Brainstorm in the Classroom can apply to any group brainstorming session.
- How to Brainstorm Art Ideas using mind mapping and thumbnails.
- How and Why to Use a Mood Board to assist in brainstorming and developing ideas for graphic design projects.
- Take Pictures for Inspiration to aid in the brainstorming process.
- Ways to Kickstart Your Creativity covers thinking, books, sketching, and more.
- Brainstorming Software can help with getting started, finding inspiration, and coming up with fresh ideas.
- Lesson Plans: Creativity and Creative Thinking includes lesson plans on teaching creativity and brainstorming and learning from and about inventors and how they brainstorm new inventions.
- How to Use Google Instant for Brainstorming offers 4 ways to come up with ideas.
- Brainstorming & Analysis Exercises offer ideas for brainstorming font choices, photo usage, folding, and other desktop publishing tasks.
- What to Write About includes steps on how to storyboard as a way to brainstorm ideas.
- Readers Respond: Excellent Ways to Get a New Perspective On Your Work or Brainstorm offers a variety of ideas from readers of About.com Web Design.
Quotes About Brainstorming and Creative Thinking
"Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits." — Edward de Bono
"To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted." — George Kneller
"The goal of brainstorming is to throw out any and all ideas related to a project, eventually leading to one or several to take further. This is certainly not the time to hold back… ideas that may seem risky, unrealistic or even downright stupid should be jotted down. Any one of them can lead to your best work." — Eric Miller, About.com Guide to Graphic Design
"Think literally, think laterally, and force yourself to keep going. Because one idea will lead to another, often somewhere surprising." — Marion Boddy-Evans, About.com Guide to Painting
"The best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas." — Linus Pauling