How to Use Creative Exercises to Build Happy, Healthy Teams

By Katy French

Column Five creative exercises

We feel so lucky to get to do creative work every day. Writing, designing, coding—whatever our hustle, it’s pretty great to get a paycheck for what we do. But even when we produce solid work and our partners are happy, we know we should never rest on our laurels. Experiment Often is one of our Five Columns values, but it’s not just a fun phrase. We see it as integral to our personal and professional evolution.

In creative work, it’s easy to get into a rut—even if you don’t think you’re in one. If you fall into the same patterns or produce the same stuff over and over, you only stagnate. Stagnation = creative death, so our creative departments are encouraged to mix it up every now and then to try a creative exercise totally out of the norm—just because.

Experimenting Through Creative Exercises

These types of creative exercises come in many forms. Sometimes it means the whole company closes up shop to host a Hack Day. Sometimes that Hack Day inspires a crew of C5ers to spend an entire weekend creating a video game from scratch. Sometimes that means we grab a conference room and let our creative freak flag fly.

Our design department is particularly big on these creative exercises, making it a point to do them once or twice a month. We wanted to share a few examples of their challenges in case it might inspire you to come up with some for your own team, no matter your particular skill or industry.

Design Department Creative Exercises

Where do the ideas come from? The team has a ton of skills—calligraphy, papercraft, animation—and a ton of stuff they wish they could do better, but their work doesn’t always allow for that. The ideas for creative exercises are usually based on their creative passions, interests, or yearnings. These challenges are the perfect way to funnel that energy, encourage creative thinking, and let loose for a bit. Here are some of our favorite challenges.

City Flag Redesigns

After noticing the interesting albeit sometimes hideous design of city flags, we challenged our crew to give city flags a minimalist redesign. Naturally, we chose cities near our Orange County and New York offices.

It was tons of fun, and it ended up giving us a little press too. We shared them on our blog, and even Wired picked them up.

Column Five creative exercises

Check out all of the designs here.

Type Fight

The alphabet is a great source of inspiration for typographers and hand-letterers (of which we have a few in house). So we challenged our team to create their own interpretations of specific letters of the alphabet, based on a randomly chosen theme. The first challenge was to design the letter “L” with themes Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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