Staying Creative + Seeing Creatively

By Aenea Liang • November 17, 2014

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people
-Leo Burnett


Living in a city as busy as New York is, many of us tend to slip into the same daily routine. We have our destination, we put our blinders on, we walk, we subway, we arrive. What we tend not to do, is look, and think. This is commonly referred to as monotony. Monotony is bad, and is essentially an antonym to creative thinking. It’s an easy tedium to stick to. Wake up, cram breakfast, get on the train, put headphones in, pretend that the commute isn’t happening, wait for the elevator, work for 8 or 10 or however many hours, and then repeat the first six steps in the reverse order. It doesn’t take much effort to see that this isn’t all that great of a habit to get into.


To see creatively, instead of traveling from our departure point, A, to our destination, B, we should strive to travel from A to Z, paying careful attention to bcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx & y along the way. Not only is this a great way to observe the lovely world around us, but it’s also a safer way to travel and avoid the sometimes not-so-lovely people.


Within a ten block radius of our office (and, assumedly yours as well), there are infinite happenings. Expand that radius to Manhattan (Insert your city here) and then to the extent that our train lines connect us to, and you realize how much is going on. There’s plenty out there to see.


But, how do I stay creative?


  • Take part in hobbies & activities that differ from work
  • Break your comfort zone. Repeatedly.
  • Occupy your free time! But not all of it. Leave some time for relaxing and debriefing your mind.
  • Start seeing things for the first time again. This is difficult, when you’ve been seeing the same things every single day of your life, but it’s a great practice to get into.
  • Stay in awe of everything around you. Very connected to the last bullet point, but we take a lot for granted. Huge buildings surrounding us, 500,000 pound chunks of metal flying through the sky, 1.6 million very complex minds existing around us, etc.
  • Look up. Maybe your ceiling is more interesting than you previously thought. If not, walk outside and look up again, not just to remind yourself that the sun has already set and that it’s raining and cold, but just to look.


As a recent university graduate in graphic design, I became worried that after graduation, when I would no longer be locked inside of a the school’s design studio being quite literally forced to be creative 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, my creativity would wander away and be lost forever. I wasn’t about to willingly accept this fate, and started taking one second of video everyday. Granted, this has done before. There’s an app for it (I’ll leave my opinions about the app specifically out of this, but lets just say that I don’t use it). This project- I started it a week before graduation- has been an extremely great motivator to stay creative and see creatively in my day to day life, outside of work. It’s allowed me to really realize how much is out there to see. I have the first half of the year up on Vimeo, if you’d like, you can check it out: 365/2 from Chris Cubellis.


To summarize all of the previous points, to stay creative and see creatively, simply “Keep fresh; Stay rad”.

Typography by Erik Marinovich

Typography by Erik Marinovich


Aenea Liang

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