Collecting Creativity 4 – Take a Sip!

When I shop, I ignore almost all packaging, picking up the same trusted brands while barely looking at the packaging at all. More often than not, packaging is thrown away almost immediately after purchase.

But as the Manager of a team that designs packaging, it’s my job to push the gap between “ignore” and “adore.”

In this week’s installment of “Collecting Creativity” I’ve gathered some images of eye-catching beverage packaging just for fun. Take a long visual sip of the colors, textures, and illustrations!

What’s your favorite beverage? Favorite package design? I’d love to hear any thoughts in a comment below!

As you may or may not know, my regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday. I’m also sharing bonus content related to creativity in this series called “Collecting Creativity.” If you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you may want to do so by clicking the link in the sidebar!

Create Like a Child (Free from Inhibitions)


I have four amazing nephews, ages seven and under, and I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been impressed by something unique or creative one of them has said or done. Their flights of imagination range from seemingly-logical to hilariously outlandish. A couple of favorite examples are the use of the word threeth (instead of third) and the day they turned their blanket fort into a school, complete with a teacher and the need to pack a “lunch” (I place that in quotes because of some of the surprising things that went into their lunchboxes).

When I watch them play, using their imagination to dream up rich stories, I often think about how uninhibited children can be and how unfortunate it is that adults often lose that creative spontaneity.

Today I want to look at three ways that we inhibit our own creativity and how we can adjust our thinking to push through those barriers . . .

I Can’t Do It! – Fear of Failure

When young children play, it’s unusual to see them hold back because of perfectionism, but when adults are working or trying to solve problems we often hedge with less-than-confident language and actions, driven by fear that someone (perhaps ourselves) may find that we’re not perfect . . .

But guess what–no one is perfect, and there are many examples of situations where repeated failure is the only way to learn the skill or crack the code.

Embrace imperfection as a universal part of any creative process. Acknowledge that there will always be some messy moments. Even masterful musicians, artists, and scientists still practice their craft daily, continuing to rehearse and experiment, even when some of the output is ugly.

If you always hold yourself back because you can’t reconcile yourself to imperfections, you will never do anything. This doesn’t keep you safe; it holds you back from producing a meaningful body of work with your life. You may avoid the imperfections, but in exchange you’ll accumulate a sea of “wish-I-hads.”

What Will They Think?! – Fear of Rejection

Children (at least up to a certain age) rarely compare themselves to one another when they’re playing or doing creative projects together. This unfortunate fear of judgment comes a little later with their first experiences of rejection . . .

And guess what–no matter how old you get or how wonderful your work, ideas, or efforts are, there will always be naysayers. If you take those caustic, critical words to heart, you will allow yourself to be limited rather than allowing yourself to make progress.

One excellent way to tune out the voice of rejection is to have a solid sense of your own purpose and priorities. Spend time identifying why you’re doing what you’re doing and allow that sense of purpose to propel you beyond the rough waters of rejection.

If you always hold yourself back because you are concerned that someone else may not like or understand what you’re trying to accomplish, you will never do anything. This also doesn’t keep you safe. You may avoid the Negative Nancy who will critique your work but will then meet the Negative Ned who will critique your lack of work. The only way to win against critics is to have a sense of yourself that will carry you boldly past their opinions.

But So-and-So Is Better! – Toxic Comparison

Young children rarely play the comparison game, but adults are often masters of it. Children usually focus on the simple enjoyment of the process, while adults continually look around them. Seeing others who are doing the same thing we’re trying to do (but better) can make it difficult to stay focused on our own path.

But guess what–no matter what you’re trying to do in life, there will almost always be someone who has done it better. If you allow yourself to always be looking around rather than down at your own “workbench,” you will be paralyzed.

This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to be aware of or inspired by the genius and success of others, but it does mean that their greatness should not be cause for you to not pursue your own. And remember, it isn’t productive to compare your “starting out” work or your “middle years” work to someone else’s mastery.

If you always hold yourself back because you don’t think you can perform at the same level as the elite of your field, you will never do anything. This doesn’t keep you safe either, because if you don’t try, you’ll always know you have untapped potential inside of you and you will miss out on the joyful cycle of practice, improvement, more practice, more improvement – something that all of the people you idolize allowed themselves to learn.


I’d love to hear about your experiences with overcoming creative inhibitions. Would you leave a comment to share your thoughts? Let’s continue pushing through our limitations together!

❤ Nicole

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Creativity at Work

As a “Creative Design Manager” for a creativity-based company, my daily tasks center around managing a team of talented artists to conceptualize and execute graphic design and illustration for packaging and products. There are new opportunities and puzzles each day as we juggle product development timelines with the expectations and requests of a variety of other teams in the company, while still trying to defend some sense of aesthetic integrity.

Every day, I’m required to make dozens of creative choices on the fly. It’s challenging . . . and I love it.


When I think about my job in a creative industry, sometimes I think about how certain I am that I would wilt if I had a job that boiled down to “insert widget 1 into thingamabob 2” & I have some first-hand knowledge of this from part-time and temporary jobs I had while I was a student.

Granted, some people may prefer to work in a job that requires little creativity, enjoying the structure of an A+B=C scenario in their daily tasks (and that’s great – we need that too), but for those who are interested in less prescriptive outcomes and some creative challenges, there are many opportunities, even some in unexpected places.

To make an exhaustive list of such opportunities would be nearly impossible, but I’d like to take a few minutes to collect a short list for starters . . . Whether you’re looking for a new career, content with the one you have, too young to be in the workforce yet, or old enough to be retired, I believe it’s a positive exercise to recognize the creative contributions made by everyone from Astronauts to Zookeepers.

Recognizing creativity in unexpected places can fill us with more appreciation for the creative skills these individuals contribute to society and also help us to remember the importance of instilling creativity in the next generation who will one day fill these roles.

Consider how workers in these fields bring creativity to their day-to-day . . .

Archaeologist: organizes necessary tasks for excavation, using ingenuity to search for and identify samples & often draw maps and schemes of discoveries

Blacksmith: makes creative decisions about how to shape objects from various metals, some for highly practical uses and some for more ornamental uses

Chef: determines unique ways to combine ingredients to develop unique recipes for a restaurant or private clientèle

Computer Programmer: assesses information and applies creative thinking skills to design and develop new systems or applications for computers

Dog Trainer: works within certain trusted training methods but also injects creative approaches to each individual dog’s temperament and behavior

Electrician: combines technical proficiency with the imagination to devise and implement solutions to electrical problems

Farmer: understands the unchangeable needs of his crops or livestock & then responds intuitively to natural forces outside human control to devise creative methods of success

Historian: mixes knowledge of the past with skills from various disciplines (from sociology to the arts) to help explain and understand events in unique ways

Industrial Designer: designs new products such as furniture using a creative approach to structural knowledge and various materials such as wood, plastic, and metal

Librarian: devises systems and processes that keep a library orderly and efficient while also providing programs to engage individuals with reading

Mathematician: initiates research of mathematical concepts, using creative thinking and problem-solving skills to make mathematical theory practical for application

Nurse: responds with wisdom to the unique medical challenge of each patient, using available knowledge as well as creative problem-solving skills to work within time and resource constraints

Parent: manages the day-to-day tasks needed to keep children alive while also devising unique ways to teach them skills and ideas and build positive relationships

Social Worker: helps people to solve problems related to their personal or social lives, using creative thinking as well as knowledge and training to help implement positive changes

Teacher: balances the responsibility for imparting certain bodies of knowledge to a class while also responding on the fly to the particular challenges of each student or group of students

Waiter: provides service of food and beverages in restaurants, creatively responding to the needs and temperament of each customer or group

Are you creative at work? Think the creativity of your job is under-recognized? Would you take a minute to let me know in a comment below? Thank you for all the amazing ways you’re contributing your individual genius to the world. Let’s keep working hard together.


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