Lately, more than being creative, I’ve been reading about how to be a creative. It’s not enough to add a colorful palette to your project, or simply make something ‘cute.’ Good design is not necessarily pleasant to look at, it’s captivating. But is that all there is to design? Making something look good? I disagree. So what does it take to do great design or a creative career? How do we improve our taste and aesthetic? Of course there is no single-blogpost answer, that would be too easy! So I invite you to join me in learning more about how to become a better creative. Every week, I will share with you something new I learned that may help you somewhere down the unpredictable but fulfilling road of a creative’s life.


The advice today is to steal. I bet your first thought is plagiarism. Hear me out, plagiarism continues to be bad and I am not telling you to drop everything you’re doing and literally copy someone’s work and call it your own. By stealing, I mean soaking in inspiration from all walks of web-surfing life and take that inspiration to the next level by infusing your own personal touch.


Bottom line is you need to let yourself be influenced because nothing is original. We learn by following the footsteps left by our design/music/film heroes. I do that by literally ripping pages off magazines or keeping posters and pamphlets I love (not to mention hardcore pinterest-pinning) and figuring out what specifically I love about them. If it’s a contrast between bold and thin types, for example, I try to implement that into something new that I’m making. Slowly, I realize what fits my vision and what doesn’t make the cut.


As Austin Kleon says in his book ”Steal like an Artist”, the creative work you see everywhere is the current language that builds on what came before. In deciding what you think it’s worth soaking in or leaving out, you develop your sense of style and find your own voice and that is original. What heroes have you been stealing from recently? - Pati


“It’s better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.” – Mark Twain


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  1. Posted 07.17.2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I seriously love this idea. So much that I got that book last year. Haven’t sat down to read it yet, but I’m so excited to. People get so touchy when others have work like them, but you’re so right → nothing is original. Can’t wait to read more in this series! :)

    • patyleemo
      Posted 08.01.2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      I got the idea for this post from that book, Kory. It’s really worth a read ;)

  2. Posted 07.17.2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    There’s a thin line between being inspired and plagiarism. As long as we walk on the right side of that line, we are good. I agree with your views though, through inspiration we develop our own voice and style. This is a great project, I look forward to next week’s post!

  3. Posted 07.18.2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    What a thoughtful post! Definitely many gems of wisdom in here :)

  4. Posted 08.01.2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Advice on how to be creative is very appreciated. I am now starting some advertising courses that are freaking me out a bit because of the creativity required. I will definitely be reading your series!

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