The greatest form of productive procrastination is research. I love to research…now. You get to learn about new subjects and you have the feeling of progressing without having to sit in the silence of that blank canvas yelling at you.
When a new job would come in the studio, BOOM, I was off to the races finding fonts, exploring colors, digging around the internet for a cool style I could replicate. Finding a cool style to replicate usually meant that I would go to all the other studios’ website, the few that had a website or cracking open a Communication Art book. Those books used to be the main source of style pilfering back in the day.
Back when I started down my new career path, motion graphics, I loved to get right to work. I didn’t want to look like I was not working. I could hear my Dad, “Son, always look productive.” And the shortest distance to a goal is a straight line, right. My previous thinking was that reading words and exploring visual references outside the world of design was just a waste of the studio’s money and my time. In the last few years after reading Design for Motion, which is a great book and truly nails a great approach to producing motion graphics content or other shorter form content, I have been much easier on myself about exploring and researching more broadly and let the process help link deeper more abstract possibilties. Ultimately if you let yourself go to those deeper places at the beginning of your creative process you give yourself a greater chance of arriving to a solution that is totally unique and ownable for your client.
After you have let yourself do some deep research diving and you have internalize all those finds and you have form connections between various discoveries, you now have an army ideas that want to get down on the previously scary canvas. You now view that blank canvas as an opportunity to express these crazy ideas, instead of an demanding, screaming desert.