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Turn it upside down

Flip things around, and you may find ideas on the other side.

I credit my art teacher at school for this one - the late, great Mr Harrup.

I dare say many art practitioners use it as well because it's so damn effective.

It stops your brain seeing what it wants to see, and instead makes it see what's actually there.

Turn the image upside down.

Done that? Okay, now sharpen your pencil.

This technique can help when you're trying to find ideas too.

We're all pattern recognition machines. Our eyes like looking at things, and our brains like understanding them even more. So when we view words or images - up and down, left to right - it stands to reason that we draw and write in the same way. It's what we're used to.

But it often means that when we try to reimagine our world in text or pictures, we produce things in a linear way. And that doesn't always turn out that great.

As Mr Harrup and others would point out, you don't have to do anything particularly radical to shake things up a bit.

Turn it upside down. Or put it back to front. Or split it into parts and jumble them up.

Point being, you start to see things in a different way. And this can spark off ideas.

When it comes to words, I'm not talking about randomising things beyond comprehension. There have been more than a few times, hammering at my keyboard - thinking I've got it so right - where what I actually end up with on-screen can only generously be described as meh.

But often the act of repositioning sentences - or whole paragraphs - can lead to an ideas breakthrough, due to the simple effect of opening up space for new thoughts to muscle in.

Let's say you're designing something. Obviously, you can invert it. But many times you'll be looking at other images for inspiration - on a moodboard, let's say. Turn them upside down too. Or hold them up in front of a mirror, to see them back to front.

Try these new perspectives. See where they take you.

Get a bit topsy-turvy, and your brain might just turn an ideas drought on its head.


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