What Reading Does for the Creative Mind

“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

Despite the research, documents, and experts that recommend reading books as part of your daily routine, there are staggering statistics out there about how little people read nowadays.

  • 25% of adults will not read a single book this yearf0581e1b7edc85b9eb3b198eff5c8741
  • 33% of high school graduates never read another book for their entire life
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book after college
  • 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year

When it comes to those of us in creative field, such as designers, writers, marketers, etc., the problem isn’t that we don’t read, it’s that we spend our time reading blogs, tweets, magazines, and other short form snippets. It is in our nature to want to consume a lot of information in order to stay up to date. But this does not work our brains the same way as a book. Reading a book forces us to ditch the distractions and focus. It’s this focus that acts as a catalyst for the many perks that come from reading books, not the least of which is an increase in creativity.

Exercise Your Brain! Mental fitness is equally as important as physical fitness, and like our bodies, our brains need exercise daily to stay fit. But instead of exercising our minds, we immerse ourselves in the internet, and then we wonder why we have such a hard time coming up with creative ideas. Reading just 20-30 minutes a day can significantly increase the strength of your mind and creativity.

Increase your Concentration! We live in the information age. A fast-paced world where we’re surrounded by gadgets feeding us words, data, links, status updates, etc. It is often TOO much to digest, our mind is overwhelmed and we don’t even know it! Pick up a book, concentrate. Allow your mind to focus on ONE thing and you’d be amazed at how much deeper you can consume and absorb in-depth information.

Release Stress and Worry! Research has shown that reading is by far one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. It allows the mind to concentrate and escape into a literary world eases the tensions in the rest of the body. A recent study showed that it takes about 6 minutes of reading to slow your heart rate and relax your mind.

Be a Better Communicator! Reading not only increases your knowledge about things, people, experiences, etc., but also your vocabulary, which in turn, can make you a better communicator. In the creative world, being a good communicator is essential to our work. Your vocabulary increases exponentially the more you read. Words nurture creativity and having more words at your disposal will help you communicate effectively.




“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss


source: TheCreativeMarket.com

Branding: The Office of Economic Vitality

This branding project hit my desk one morning with a pretty tight deadline. I love creating identities, but this one was tough. The challenge here was to brand one of Leon County’s newly established offices with a simple and clean color palette while also sending a clear message of what the office aims to accomplish: Business Growth and Development

Business growth and development essentially means developing and implementing growth opportunities within and between organizations. In my brainstorming, I wanted something that was informative and represented the services, but sleek and sexy.

The Office of Economic Vitality’s new logo outlines a key with a skyline silhoutte. This represents that the office has the answers to business growth and is the key to the success of your business. The EV inside the head of the key brings the name back into mind and gives the key a sharp look. The  sans serif font choice adds a clean and sleek look to the text heavy logo. The amount of text is required here because we needed to fully represent each entity that make up the office.

2014 Annual Report Design…

Leon County’s Annual Report is by far one of the most imperative documents for the organization that informs the public of Leon County’s overall performance over the past year… And I get to design it. Unfortunately, there will not be a lot of new design elements to be introduced this year because the frame work will need to remain the same as the previous year. So I am searching for ways to make this document fresh and new, while keeping the overall frame work.

I am researching ways to report results and display overall teamwork through placement of photos and design elements. I want this to look modern and fun, while still relaying important facts and research. Often these two concepts don’t go well together and the overall design leans more to one end of the spectrum. I’m looking to balance this equation with my design.

Here are a few snapshots of the research I’ve done to draw inspiration:

CANVA – Amazingly simple graphic design…

I’m always searching for sites that offer inspiration, first and foremost, but also easy access to ideas and design elements. A co-worker of mine stumbled upon Canva.com. Canva is an easy to use online design tool that allows people who aren’t graphic designers, design beautiful designs for just about any occasion.

Canva offers layouts for invitations, posters, Facebook covers, Twitter covers, google pages and tons of other design elements. For me, I use Canva to draw inspiration or if I am designing something quick and simple for Leon County’ social media pages. Canva certainly deosn’t perform as well as some of the other design programs I’ve used, but it is quick and easy and you don’t have to be a designer or know to use the site!

Check Canva.com out and create simple, yet beautiful designs.

Below are some designs that can be created on Canva.com.

Font Picks of the Month…

Choosing the right font and typeface for a design is one of the FIRST things I do when designing. There are so many factors that come into play. Does it mesh well with the type of event? Is it too busy? Is it clean enough? Does it need to be more playful? Does it work well with the other fonts used, if any? Is there enough contrast? As I said, SO many deciding factors need to be considered.

I like using fonts that I can get away with in pretty much as situation. They are my “safe zone fonts.” Of course there are those few exceptions, but for the most part they work. But that doesn’t hold me back from discovering new fonts and trying them out.

Each month I choose a few and add them to my font book. I thought I would share my picks of the month:

To learn more about font choices, read What Font Should I Use by Smashing Magazine.

Operation Thank You – The Perfect Logo…

Another Leon County project has sparked many creative thoughts.

Just to inform you: Leon County has a long tradition of supporting its local veteran community through an array of programs and services. Since 2012, the County has held Operation Thank You events each year to honor veterans who have dedicated their lives in order to protect the basic tenets of freedom. Operation Thank You Events have helped the County to forge strong partnerships with a number of veteran groups in the community, allowing the Leon County Veteran Services Division to better serve the more than 18,500 veterans and their families in Leon County.

Okay, back to design, Operation Thank You, since 2012, has had a working logo that has been used through different collateral/promotional pieces for the event. A former designer for the county established the working logo and I can’t commend her enough. You know a logo is the perfect logo when it can be used on hundreds of different pieces, and it all works! I enjoyed developing different designs for the event, which will be held on June 6, 2014.

To learn more about this year’s Operation Thank you, please visit: www.LeonCountyFL.gov/OTY

Below are some design pieces that were used in promotion:

Live Well LEON – Save the Date Design…

As part of becoming a part of the Leon County family in beautiful Tallahassee, FL, I’ve been getting familiar with the overall design elements and requests made throughout our departments. One recent request was to create a save the date for the annual Live Well LEON Well-Being Fair. I was able to incorporate the bright colors from our Live Well LEON logo and create a flyer that was informative, clean, crisp and bursting with color.

For me, it was important to use our bright colors, but most importantly, BE DIFFERENT in the way that the information of the event was laid out.

The event was a huge success, many Leon County employees came out to the event and gathered tons of information on how to better improve their overall health.

Below are the design elements that were created for the event: