Finding patterns in apparent nonsense
A group of my colleagues and I did a wonderful warm-up activity where we divided a piece of plain paper into eight sections. In each section, we made different squiggly lines. Next, with the timer set for twenty seconds each round, we passed the papers around. In those twenty seconds, we were to create a bird out of the squiggle. Simple, yet enlightening.
Our brains unconsciously seek out patterns. This exercise proved the rapid capacity of the brain to do this. We are wired to create something out of seemingly nothing. As designers, this is an excellent evolutionary trait. Given few resources, we are able to generate patterns, find deep insights, and create!
Aside from this being a helpful tool for designers, it's also a good reminder for anyone who doesn't believe they are creative. We as humans all have the ability to create unique ideas. It's a matter of allowing ourselves to start and make it into a practice. Just drawing squiggles and making birds out of these lines of nonsense is a great method to open that pathway in our brains.
Whether you're feeling stuck, or just want to see what magic your brain can bring forward, I highly recommend starting with a wiggly line, setting a timer (or not), and letting your brain find something within the abstraction and turn it into something recognizable.
Another example of what can be created from mere splatters on paper. The dark ink on the right side of the tree was the starting point for this piece my brother did years ago. It's always been a favorite of mine.