Prepare Your Imagination: Think Critically & Creatively


HOW Design Live—in Chicago this May 4 – 8—is all about collective wisdom shared. From speakers sharing their expertise with attendees to attendees sharing theirs with one another.

That’s why we’ve compiled 101 Inspiring Ideas for Creative Professionals in Design, Branding & Marketing, an exclusive free e-book featuring words of wisdom from a selection of 2015’s HOW Design Live speakers.

For a sneak peek, here’s one piece from the e-book:

Prepare Your Imagination: Think Critically & Creatively

By Robin Landa, Author of Nimble: Thinking Creatively in the Digital Age, Distinguished Professor at Robert Busch School of Design

Employers and clients want to hire nimble thinkers: People who are not only content experts, but who also are agile in adapting to new technology and new directions in their fields. With rapid technological changes and globalization, the ability to think creatively and strategically is crucial. How does a creative professional flourish in the digital age?

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Prepare Your Imagination:

  • Consider everything you see, hear and learn as content. Listen. Observe. Connect.
  • Problem find: Do things (make, draw, paint, write) for their own sake, as opposed to doing things that are merely a means to achieve a design solution.
  • Go old school. Pick up a pencil and draw. Go pre-school. Play.

Think Critically:

  • What are the parameters? Would it be advantageous to reinvent the boundaries?• What are you trying to make happen? What results do you want?
  • What are possible alternatives and their respective advantages or disadvantages?
  • Look at the problem from the audience’s point of view. Seek an insight.

Think Creatively:

  • Work backwards: Make stuff and then deconstruct the content for meaning.
  • Would changing the context or reframing it change the outcome?
  • Pose any or all of the following: What if…? If only… Suppose you could… If you combine x and y, then you might get…
  • Can you create content that is entertaining, informative, useful or beneficial?

Want to read more wisdoms from HOW Design Live speakers? Download the rest of this 25-page e-book: click here and enter your e-mail address to get the download.


Robin Landa has written more than 20 published books about graphic design, creativity, advertising, branding and drawing, including Nimble: Thinking Creatively in the Digital Age; Build Your Own Brand; Graphic Design Solutions, 5th ed.; and Advertising by Design 2nd edition. Landa holds the title of Distinguished Professor at the Robert Busch School of Design at Kean University. She has won numerous awards, including the Human Rights Institute at Kean University’s 2015 Outstanding Human Rights Educator Award. Visit, or you can find her on Twitter: @rlanda.