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An easy Creative technique – May the creative force be with you

August 8, 2012

Did you notice the Nerdvana T-shirt in the photo? I’m very proud of it (with Phil Dunphy-like enthusiasm) because I designed it (a few years ago) – inspired by being a fan of Nirvana and adding a playful nerdish twist on their classic design.

Chillax trademark lawyers! – the T-shirt was only a one-off I had made up and I’m not selling them. It was a case of creative compulsion to take something you love add your own twist to make something new. I  recall was at a coffee shop at the time when the inspiration hit me when I saw someone walking by in a T-shirt with the classic Nirvana logo. I got out my notebook and sketched the design.

Now the name Nerdvana is an obvious play on words and when I searched the word Nerdava I found there was band by that name – but the design to my knowledge was an original ins-creation (a creation with inspiration from something else). Hey, I think I just created that new word. Better check the internet to see if ins-creation already exists! Phil would be proud of that word.

So there’s a creative recipe:

Take something you love and add your own twist to create something new

Something you love that inspires you + your own twist (preferably with a pun or play on words)  = an ins-creation

My son Orlando is so proud that his “cool dad” designed his own T-shirt and he loves to play the creative game of imagining how he could create a slogan or name his own T-shirt.

Riffing on Nirvana – he came up with Purr-vana with

  1. photos of lots of cute kittens or
  2. the circular, yellow Nirvana logo with cat’s ears and eyes. (Remember trademark lawyers this is just an imagination game – the Purr-vana shirt does not exist!)

He also came up with a T-shirt idea with a tough looking cat with guns -called The Purr-minator.

And that’s another key ingredient to creating a cool new combination – CONTRAST

The idea of a cat being tough like Terminator makes an interesting and funny combination.

Just as combining the “wild sounding and untamed looking”” grunge band Nirvana with a bespectacled nerd makes another interesting and humorous combination. I get lots of compliments on my Nerdvana shirt and wear it when I run creativity sessions.

Ins-creation – proud of my Nerdvana T-shirt

If you search the internet one of the greatest sources of humorous twists is Star Wars. My theory is that lots of creative people with the skills to digitally create new things (images/logos etc.) must be Star Wars fans.

Both my son and I are massive Star Wars fans. It’s a great bond and connection that I suspect will last. We laugh how Phil Dunphy says he imitated Darth Vader’s line “Luke – I am your father” as his son Luke was being born.

Just look at the range of Star Wars inspired T-shirts and humorous posters.

Once again CONTRAST is a key element to the humour. Darth Vader and Imperial Stormtroopers are such scary dudes that it is funny to have their seriousness combined with everyday or lighthearted things.

Also Star Wars has so many memorable lines that are open to word play and parody – and there are so many STAR connections.

This is one of my favourite Star Wars T-shirts ins-creations.

Scary imperial storm trooper  + everyday earthly item (with a Star association)

Plus the pun substituting Force with Froth.

My son’s favourite T-shirt/ logo is Java the Hutt from the movie Fanboys (and I think it’s a real coffee place too)

Java The Hutt business

Once again, Star Wars + pun + coffee seems to be a winning combination.

We are all more creative than we think we are. Let something you love (a favourite band or movie or pet or book or quote) be your ins-creation to play and have some fun.

So try it!  Take something you love add a twist (preferably with a pun) and try to add Contrast. If you have kids at an age that they’d like to play along – encourage them to join in.  I can tell you it’s so satisfying to create something (like your own Nerdvana T-shirt)

May the creative force be with you!

Footnote: as you’d expect Nerdvana is too good a pun for word nerds and T-shirt designers to resist.

Here’s a similar version  with Nerdy glasses – but with a more original design that doesn’t go too close to the Nirvana logo.


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