The 5 step program for making creativity happen.

Benjamin W.

January 23, 2010

I’ve been building this design studio for a bit now. It’s still just me. I’m still at home. But I’ve got more clients than ever.

A problem I wasn’t expecting was inspiration or lack of it. I need more inspiration than ever to produce more ideas than ever to whittle them down to good ideas. And that is exactly what I’ve been obsessing about. In the course of my obsession and subsequent scouring of the internet in search of answers to a problem I hadn’t even named, I discovered once and for all, the three step list to making creativity happen. Are you ready?

  1. Start. Just start. Uh huh, I know all about the “Yeah but I don’t have a great idea to start with” and the “I’m not sure is this is the exact right CMS I should use for this project and thus can’t start brainstorming on big picture stuff until I do except that deciding on which CMS to use can only be decided with data I don’t have yet” and my favorite “Maybe if I check Signal vs. Noise, Jason or David will give me just the insight I need to inspire me to create something awesome for this client”. The real insights you need will come from you sitting with a pen and paper (or your tool of choice) and starting. Whether it’s lyrics, logo design, icons, web apps, whatever you’re trying to do, give yourself an hour and just get going. And pretty soon, the inspiration you’re looking for will come from doing what you wanted to do in the first place and not from obsessing about how, why or if you should do it.
  2. If number one fails, and I’ll be really surprised if it does, take a break. Give yourself the opportunity to withdraw from whatever is giving you hell. Read a book, go for a walk, watch something on hulu or write a blog post. Most people (me included) skip number one and go straight to number two out of the wishful belief that number two is what is missing. It rarely is. You have to be doing something to take a break from it and obsessing over whether or not today is a good day for making kick ass stuff happen isn’t really doing something.
  3. Back to 1.

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A definition of design.

Benjamin W.

December 11, 2009

“Design is the first signal of human intention. So, what are our intentions?” -William McDonough

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Jason Fried is a man of his word…

Benjamin W.

October 20, 2009

Honestly, I just spent about 2 min harping over how I should put “social media” and “transparency” in the headline because that would make it more “searchable” and “buzzword” friendly. And I decided to stick with what I have. Because that is what this post is actually about.

I am a big fan of 37signals. And I like being a fan of them. They’re one of those brands that I want to be associated with. I want people to know I’m a fan so they know a little more about me and what I stand for. And I’m now a fan for life.

I just called Jason Fried on the phone. And he picked up. I know that doesn’t sound too profound. But I look up to him and the 37signals team. It was fucking bad ass.

Yesterday, Jason announced that he would be taking calls on tuesday and thursday between 1pm-3pm pacific. You can call and talk directly with him about pretty much whatever is on your mind. This immediately blew my mind. Not only is it a bold and innovative move but it was an opportunity for me to ask Jason Fried of 37signals anything I could think of. And the pressure was on.

So, I dialed the phone… And it started to ring. “He’ll never pick up. There are too many people calling right now for him to actually pick up.” I thought nervously as I rings continued to pound in my ear. I quickly removed my iPhone headphones for this was too important of a call to be so lackadaisical. And then… He picked up.

“This is Jason.”

And after a little tiny freak out, I said hi, introduced myself and ask my question about web design. The end.

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Letter Case

Graphic Design & Web Design

Letter Case was my one-man design shop based in Los Angeles, CA.
I ran it for 2 years until I joined Typekit in January 2011.

In my spare time I've been learning to program by building my first web application.
A simple tool called Talkative to help people publish their talks on the web.

My current project is The Briefcase. A blog and podcast.
It's a place for me to create and publish stuff.

If you have any comments, thoughts or questions,
feel free to contact me at: benthomaswelch [at]

Thanks for checking out my blog. Cheers!

Simplicity is harder than it looks.