Brainstorming: Getting Those Creative Juices Flowing

Brainstorming is a fantastic way to come up with new, hip and creative ideas for just about everything in life—but it’s particularly a great tool to use when designing yearbooks. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when working on a long and extensive project such as a yearbook. You find that after time, you start saying the same things over and over again or start making all your pages have the same old generic feel.

The best way to start thinking about things in a fresh way is to do some brainstorming sessions both alone and with the rest of your yearbook team. Experts agree that it’s best to follow a specific course when brainstorming. Here’s your plan of attack:

Step 1: Go Solo
Start out with an individual brainstorming session first. This will help you generate ideas in your own mind before getting together with your group. Use pen and paper, computer programs, etc. The idea is to come up with a theme and then jot down as many ideas as you can possibly think of. Give yourself a time limit if this helps you be more creative. Do some freewriting. Use graphic organizers. Bust out the thesaurus or even do a google search on your topic. These will all help you think of the topic in a new way.

Step 2: Join Forces
Once you’ve had some time to ruminate about a particular theme or topic, then gather with the rest of the yearbook team and have a collaborative brainstorming session. The tips for the session are found below!

Step 3: Reflect and Review
Now, it’s time to go solo again. Look over everything that you came up with in the individual session and the ideas of your associates in the group powwow. Circle the best ideas, elaborate on them, and then see how you can turn them into something concrete.

Brainstorming 101 
In order for a brainstorming session to be fruitful, there are definitely some clear rules that should be adhered to:

Rule 1: Plan on having the brainstorming session in a comfortable place.

Rule 2: Let participants know ahead of time that the crazier the idea the better! Never judge ideas as either good or bad. Just encourage brainstorm-ees to spout out any idea that pops into their head—on the topic, of course! This will help other people generate fun and quirky ideas of their own to share!

Rule 3: Delegate one person to be the scribe. This person should quickly write all of the ideas in a visible place for the rest of the group to easily see. This can be on a white board, on a chalk board (if you’re truly, awesomely old school), or on a computer tablet and projected onto a big screen. Allowing the members to see the ideas in a visual way will help them to be able to generate more thoughts on the spot.

Rule 4: Use graphic organizers of some kind. This helps the mind process the information easier and thereby quickly generate even more ideas.