The medium matters

Consider this: if you had to draw a picture of an elephant, right now, would you rather do so using a large marker and poster-sized sheet of paper, or with a lathe and piece of drift wood?

Of course there are a lot of different tools you can use for completing a job. You don’t have to use a pencil and sheet of paper to sketch out ideas, and you don’t have to use an iPad for reading the news, but each medium you use to explore ideas or do work impacts the outcome.

We use pencil and paper because it’s so easy to transform ideas onto paper by doing so. We use computers for design and typography because it’s easy to manipulate elements. We use email and Google and blogs for inspiration because that’s the easiest place to find them.

But using the same tools and relying on the same medium to do the work every time will only get you the same results.

If you’re creatively stuck (or just want to try something new), consider changing the medium you’re working on. Changing the medium will change the results, nearly always.

Instead of sketching notes on paper with a pen, try using wet noodles. Rather than browsing the same websites day-in and day-out for inspiration, try looking somewhere new. Put away the computer and hold your meetings in a park or on a bus or in a crowded restaurant.

Sure, using a marker would make it easy to draw on paper, but having to draw something out of a piece of wood would force you to be creative.

What mediums have you been relying on for your creativity? What are some ways you could try new mediums today?