Thinking Strangely – The Pinterest Years

I work with many different agencies & brands, at times briefed to simply inject creative thought into their pitches and concepts, so wanted to share some tips taken from my creativity injection / training sessions and hope you’ll find them useful.

The key to thinking creativity is to a) relax and enjoy yourself, b) ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ and c) try and reset the way you look at things, viewing it from different angles and using unrestricted thinking. Remember it’s always easier to make a great idea fit for almost any given brand or campaign than make a dull idea more interesting. As Orange Juice once sang ‘Rip It Up and Start Again‘ but I digress.


I LOVE using Pinterest to inspire creative thinking and am not alone. It’s the site of the moment, the Adele of the social media world if you like, and currently the fastest growing site of the world. More than 97% of the Facebook fans of the Pinterest are women, and it has been giving more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+ and Linkedin combined. So even though it may seem “fluffy” it’s a big hitter and increasingly influential.

A great place to start pinning images from is Google image search. It’s much easier, not to mention quicker, to view images rather than read blog posts & articles in order to seek inspiration which is why I use this approach. Simply spend an hour or so searching for various key words… …think of the traditional elevator pitch approach and find images which will sum up your concept in one picture and ‘pin’ them (don’t forget to use the site’s toolbar widget).

When you have enough content, at least 20 pins for sake of argument, you’ll find it is really easy to look at the board and think of an approach you can take to make these images a reality and join them together, rather than simply thinking of an idea then finding images to support this.

You can only have up to three private Pinterest boards so I also use code names. For example Flipper 01 – Bull (see above) was a board created for a 10th birthday cake installation we were commissioned to make for Poke. The brief was to find a way to celebrate and represent some of their iconic client work, such as Spot The Bull website for Orange, in cake. Shown below the end result featured toy bulls hidden in the cake, cookie mushrooms, chocolate cow pats and ‘soil’ created from chocolate ganache; elements of which can all be seen in the initial board, yet the final product was still totally unique.

As all projects will eventually have a visual presence, especially in PR, Pinterest boards are a great way to start pulling together ideas for almost any concept or client. When looking for content to pin think about how you want the end campaign and it’s results to look, pinning inspiration for everything from fine detail to the bigger picture. Trust your instincts too. If there is a picture you really like, but can’t quite see how it would work for the project you are working on pin it anyway. Only about 20% of our pins end up having a direct visual impact on a project, most of them serve to simply help us arrive at the right idea before we ruthlessly delete them once we have a clearer idea of the concept we are going to work with.

Pinterest is very very very addictive so make sure you combine it with other creative techniques when seeking pinned inspiration.

You can follow us on Pinterest here, and if you would like an invitation to the site please do let us know.

Further reading over at The Huffington Post – Pinning Down Creative Social Media


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