Get Creative in Under 3 Minutes

Being creative doesn’t mean spending hours agonising over a single idea. In fact quite the opposite. Forcing yourself to work under a timer can often achieve better results, much like working to a really tight deadline. Some of my finest design work has been created when it felt like it was physically impossible to achieve. The kind of hear-your-heartbeat-in-your-ears kind of stress.

Putting yourself under false deadlines will help push out different kinds of imagination and also improve your ability to get across a really good idea in a short amount of time. For instance for a pitch or if you really want to kick-ass at Pictionary.

Here’s a list of ways to boost your flow of creativity and help improve your portfolio, just make sure you have a watch/timer handy and go for it.

One Minute Briefs

You’ll need 60 seconds

If you aren’t already following these guys, you really need to (Twitter: @OneMinuteBriefs). Every day they’ll give you a topic to crack and you have 60 whole seconds to come up with an idea, scamp it and tweet it to them.

Intro to a story

You’ll need 120 seconds

Whether you’re a Copywriter or an Art Director I think it’s so important to be able to eloquently capture the imagination of your audience – be it a 4-word strap line or a 40-page brochure. Take 2 minutes and start the introduction to a story. Whatever the story make sure it’s gripping, read it out loud and if you find yourself wanting to find out what happens next you’ve nailed it.


You’ll need 180 seconds

You’ve all (at least I hope you have) watched every single episode of Friends? Particularly the one where Chandler decides he wants to go into advertising, “Pants, like shorts but looonger.” Go into your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom – wherever and pick a branded item. Then for a full 3 minutes write down every thought, strapline, idea you get when you look at this item. Try and find its new USP, try and reimagine its purpose, try and redefine who would buy it. Once the clock stops circle your 5 favourites and make a scamp.


You pick but for a challenge try 30 seconds

When I went to University I took extra classes for the bonus points, which in my first year, was so much fun because it spanned across all of the creative departments (something I regret to acknowledge that I didn’t make use of as my time went on). In 1st year I chose “Life Drawing” let me tell you, there’s still nothing more shocking than to stumble unprepared into a classroom full of people surrounding a naked body.

What this class did teach me is that practice might not make perfect but it does create improvement. For 6 weeks I drew solidly for an hour. Sometimes I would get 30 minutes to detail out areas of the model and some I’d be forced to get the likeness in seconds before we moved onto another pose. The more interesting of the two were the ones where time was a factor. How do you represent a shape or form when they keep moving.

Try this out, pick a person and sketch for 3 minutes, then again perhaps for 2 and again at a minute and see the difference. What do you deem necessary when time isn’t on your side?

Share your creations with @YCC and @adelemitchinson and I can’t wait to see what you create!

Tips for contacting creatives

If you’re new to contacting industry professionals, this article should make it less daunting than it sounds. They’re just other human beings at the end of the day. But they do have a particular set of skills and a brain


Video Crits

After last year’s 18 lockdown Zoom sessions, we’re back for more! Looking for agency feedback on your portfolio? Well, every Tuesday from 6-7:15pm we’ll organise 2 x 30 minute book crits with industry folk for as many people as we


Helping bridge the gap between young talent and the creative industries.

Hubs in London and Newcastle.

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