Advice — Two creative exercises to maintain inspiration levels from home, by team Anyways

Posted 26 March 2020 Written by Lecture in Progress

As we find ourselves trading in the outside world for the inside, finding inspiration and motivation can be that bit tougher. Trips to galleries, chance encounters and walls of Post-It notes have been replaced by endless video chats and Slack notifications. It’s all too easy to feel stagnant, so how can you keep your creative brain fit and healthy? This week, we’re looking to our sister company Anyways to find out how the team are maintaining inspiration levels with two exercises: 54321 and Creative Catch Up.

Founded in 2012, Anyways is a creative studio whose work spans a huge range of disciplines, from the experiential, animation and illustration projects. But if there’s one thing that binds everything together, it’s their playful and innovative ideas. Since setting up disparate home offices a couple of weeks ago, they explain how they’ve been able to translate two of their creative traditions for the digital world, to maintain a sense of fun and idea-generation that is so intrinsic to their output.

‘54321’

Dreamt up by creative Adam Morton-Delaney, 54321 is a creative exercise consisting of quick-fire briefs that the team complete every morning, before the working day begins.

The mechanic is simple – a brief is sent via a Slack channel every morning and the team each complete it in just five minutes. The briefs themselves are short and sweet; for example, ‘Design a pair of shoes intended for kicking ass.’ Easy right?

Why does it exist?
At a time where we’re being distracted by news and open tabs, Anyways felt it was vital to provide creative focus, and to get the team away from their screens for a moment. With each brief varying massively, the team explain that they are designed “to stretch our brains” with a new line of thought, as an uplifting way to get the day started.

Instructions for ‘54321’

What you’ll need

A pen, paper and five minutes to spare (the exercise can be done alone or with a team/ group of friends)

What to do

1. Pick a brief to complete (see a selection below)

2. Set the timer for five minutes, close the computer and then get thinking, sketch or note down your idea! The team reiterate that “no idea is too silly”, so do push yourself and have fun

3. When the time is up, you have the option to share it. For Anyways, the team will take a picture and share it on the Slack channel

Example briefs to get you started

• Design a pair of shoes intended for kicking ass
• Design a sleep mask for sleepwalkers
• Humans have developed taste buds on their toes. How will cutlery be adapted?
• The year is 2034 and you just ran into your ex. How do you get out of the conversation?
• Spring has sprung! The trees have started growing but the new leaves are blue. Why?

Below are some examples of a responses to the brief ‘Design a pair of pyjamas for sleepwalkers’:

Example responses from the Anyways team

Example responses from the Anyways team

Example responses from the Anyways team

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‘Creative Catch Up’

Creative Catch Up is a weekly session where Anyways’ creative team come together and press pause on the working week, as a chance to share ideas and get making. It can take many different forms, with a new agenda or exercise leading each one, and currently takes place on Google Hangouts. This week, for example, the team set themselves the task of creating a totem or sculpture to keep them feeling positive, using objects from their homes.

Anyways Creative Catch Up brief

Anyways Creative Catch Up brief

Anyways Creative Catch Up brief

Anyways Creative Catch Up brief

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Why does it exist?
Anyways are a busy bunch, and as creatives Ellen Turnill Montoya and Charlie Sheppard tell us, “It’s been a great way to get together and share ideas and our creativity. The initiative has evolved from a meeting to discuss project work, to include workshops, brainstorms, creative exercises and inspiration sessions.” And as the team went remote, they felt it was important to make it work virtually; “this way we get to create and see everyone else’s living rooms at the same time, which is surely a bonus,” share Ellen and Charlie.

Instructions for ‘Creative Catch Up’

​What you’ll need

• A few people to do the session with
• An online chat platform (Anyways recommend using Google Hangouts or Zoom)
• 30+ minutes to spare
• A topic or exercise to put to your friends or colleagues

What to do

1. Meet on the group call and set the challenge to the group
(Or: If it’s a pre-arranged discussion on a topic – for example, you have watched a film or documentary on a theme that relates to a project – the session can simply be a chance to chat and share thoughts)

2. Complete the challenge using items from around the house, or with pen and paper

3. Each person presents their solution back on the group call

Examples challenges or topics

• Create a totem or sculpture using objects from your house
• Watch or read something that relates to a challenge you’re trying to solve (before the session), and then discuss
• Design artwork inspired by music lyrics for an album

Below are some examples of a responses to the brief ‘Create a totem or sculpture using objects from your house’:

Example response to the brief

Example response to the brief

Example response to the brief

Example response to the brief

Example response to the brief

Example response to the brief

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See more from Anyways at anyways.co

Posted 26 March 2020 Written by Lecture in Progress
Collection: Advice
Mentions: Anyways, Ellen Turnill Montoya, Charlie Sheppard

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