John McNeil Studio

Staying Creative: A Personal and Professional Pursuit

JMS Blog

Strategy Sessions unpack a topic of interest discussed within the JMS strategy team. From business trends to personal passions and everything in between, these conversations spark innovation and help us find new ways of thinking.

This Week's Topic: Staying Creative

Amidst our deadlines and projects here at JMS, we’ve been making a concerted effort to ask each other how we stay creative in other areas of life, too. A recent conversation with the strategy team yielded all sorts of answers, from engaging with underground community spaces to personal mood board curation, and everything in between. In short, our 2022 was full of dynamic, creative pursuits – and we expect this year will follow suit.

Below are some examples of what’s keeping us creative.

Drawing inspiration from each other

Dedicated creative spaces are some of the most impactful places to find like-minded individuals who will inspire you along the journey.

“I like the idea of spaces that are built for experiences, not just passive viewing. Spaces built to support active happenings.” – Sarah Jessee, Strategy Director, Editorial Content

Whether it’s volunteering at a local collective like The Wave Collective in San Francisco or visiting a storefront with an emphasis on bolstering public access,  places to convene are more important – and more accessible – than you might think.

“There’s this streetwear brand called Braindead. Their newest store is in this old silent movie theater that closed during COVID. They took over the space and now show 2-3 movies each night—any movies the people that work there want to play. The purpose isn’t really to sell clothes, it’s more this space to experience the brand and the movies, and it’s only five bucks to watch them. They have a patio out back where you can hang out and get food. I feel like so many brands try to artificially create community, but just by giving people cool things or open spaces, people will come.” – Daniel Simantob, Strategist

Reclaiming individuality in our solo endeavors

Like anything, creativity needs both solo and shared experiences to thrive. It requires the slow, thoughtful moments of recharging one’s battery just as much as it needs the textures and surprises of a vibrant community. And when it comes to balancing the individual versus group practices, it’s important to remember that pushing boundaries is a great way to get into a new kind of thinking – and that resting is a productive pursuit, too.

“There was a point where I wasn’t feeling very creative. I tried to refocus my energy by starting a writing workshop to help teenagers create their own worlds and tell the stories that are important to them. They came so full of ideas and talent, and that naturally inspired me to be able to get back into my own practice. That collaboration was a huge driving force for me.” – Géranne Darbouze, Junior Social Designer

“I think a lot of people feel like creativity requires a spark of divine inspiration or that some people are inherently more creative than others, but I believe that creativity is something anyone can tap into. I listened to an episode of the podcast Creative Pep Talk that spoke about creating a personal catalog of impact — a distillation of all the movies, music, art, media, pop culture moments, and other references that have had an impact on you — to look at whenever you are feeling stuck. Surround yourself with things that inspire you, motivate you, and make you feel something and then use that to play, explore, and make something.” – Laura Ogle, Senior Strategist, Innovations

Decreasing screen time has been a popular resolution for several years now – and sure, most of us could stand to put our phones down more often. Despite criticism for screen time, social media and creative platforms can be excellent tools for staying inspired when used to your advantage. Our team cited some favorite Instagram accounts and apps as excellent sources for creative inspiration, education, and levity.

“For me it’s harder to get out these days, to actually go do activities. So I like to follow museums on Instagram and have constant everyday exposure to art and artists in my feed. The Met is one example, and it’s refreshing to see content from them. In the same vein, I love the National Park Service Instagram account. Following accounts and brands that aren’t related to the industry you work in is this nice way to get inspiration from other places.” – Katy Bornholdt, Senior Social Media Strategist

Some creative places and spaces that inspire our team:

The Wave Collective in San Francisco, a local Bay area gem

Brain Dead, a creative collection

Dazed & Confused Magazine, a favorite trend source

The Met, an inspirational Instagram account

National Park Service, a favorite creative Instagram account

Miro & Figma, some of our most popular collaboration tools at JMS