No matter what our age or profession, there are no rules when it comes to creativity. Creativity is a form of self-expression that gives us the opportunity and freedom to explore crazy ideas that pop into our heads. Being creative opens our minds to new ways of thinking and problem-solving. As children, we were encouraged to turn off technology and play, whether we were coloring with crayons, molding with Play-Doh, building forts out of sticks or just spending the day outside, we were having experiences, building memories and developing our character.

One of our favorite hands-on, creative projects for A. Bright Idea currently is a series called “Today’s A.” Initially conceptualized by several members of the A. Bright Idea team, it was Graphic Design Specialist, Robyn Koenig, who has overseen the growth of the project. “Today’s A” is an example of one of the creative agency’s many bright ideas, allowing members of the Visual team to break from their creative pursuits with a computer and mouse and let their imagination run free to fuel productivity and creativity in the workplace. Team members take turns creating different “A’s,” exploring various forms of lowercase or uppercase A’s and using different materials and techniques to create something physical instead of digital.

History of “Today’s A”

Two of the most recognizable brand elements of A. Bright Idea are the lightbulb and the “A.” Over the years, a lot has been done with the lightbulb. When the team was looking for something fun and creative for future content, they chose to focus on the “A,” which stands for the first initial of Founder and CEO, Anita Brightman. “Today’s A” allows members of the Visual team to dig deep into their creative minds to conjure up beautiful, inspiring and fun creative interpretations of the agency’s “A” logo.

“We’re always looking for new ways to show off our creativity,” said Koenig. “At the time when this was started, we were looking to develop some new social media content. We went outside and picked a bunch of flowers and leaves and nature-type things, came back inside, sketched a very loose, kind of handwritten calligraphic “A” and just had fun with it. We laid the flowers and the leaves out on the outline of the “A,” and that was it! Everyone really loved it and now it’s a hanging print inside of our Burbank office.”

Making an A

The idea for a “Today’s A” usually comes from inspiration on social media, in an industry publication or just from brainstorming with our team of creatives. A select team meets monthly to discuss and plan upcoming content strictly for the agency. It’s from those meetings the “Today’s A” ideas flow.

“One of my favorites is the Pinata A,” Koenig said. “We built it like a real, miniature piñata, but without the candy inside. Then there’s the one we recently created for Halloween – the Jack-O-Lantern carved ‘A.’ We have made them out of Play-Doh, wine corks, marshmallow Peeps and various other materials.”

Benefits of Creative Play

While it may seem like the team just likes playing with Play Doh and craft materials, the team has identified some solid benefits to the “Today’s A” creative exercise.

  1. Exercise – Using different creative muscles to have the freedom to do something in your way instead of trying to fitting within the confines of a brand style.
  2. Tactile – Working with your hands is beneficial for the creative process. For Koenig and others at the agency, joy comes from creating by hand, without the use of a computer. It’s satisfying to create something physical and then share your creation with others.
  3. Practice – “Today’s A” isn’t just a fun, creative exercise, it’s practice for when it’s time to really think creatively to hit deadlines and make a big impact with client work. It also helps the teamwork through problems and grow as creators. One of the biggest skills needed for being a creative, whether it’s a designer or filmmaker or writer, is problem-solving and finding a good creative solution.

The “Today’s A” creative has allowed for creative expression, as well as personal and professional growth. While “Today’s A” is specific to A. Bright Idea, the concept is one any creative individual or organization can attempt to help build culture at a company, work through a creative block, spark new ideas and exercise known skills and tap into new ones.

Do you see a benefit in our “Today’s A” that we missed? Is this something you might try? Send us an email or DM on social. We’d love to hear from you.

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Don’t miss another Today’s A on the ‘gram at @abrightidea.

Creativity doesn’t have to be elaborate or flashy, and it doesn’t have to be reserved for the “creatives” alone. Low-key creativity is the effortless, no-pressure strategy to get your brain working in an imaginative way with others.

Creativity doesn’t start in an email
Get those creative juices flowing with face-to-face interaction! The key to a collaborative environment is getting to know your coworkers on a personal level, away from the computer screen. Try kicking off a meeting with a quick creative exercise and have everyone share their piece with the team. Not only will this bring everyone some laughs, but it will start the meeting with high energy, ready to jump into a productive meeting.

Here’s an exercise our team tried in a recent meeting:
Each participant has a piece of paper with 30 blank circles on it and a pencil. Team members are challenged to fill in as many circles as possible in only three minutes. The aim being quantity, not quality.

Culture of creativity
Give every team member every creative opportunity and constantly promote a positive work environment and culture. Providing a creative and unique work space can improve company morale, and science shows that positive moods tend to promote those “a-ha” moments. So, bring a whiteboard and handful of candy to your next meeting (this always works for us).

Encouraging creativity doesn’t stop with our Bright Lights – we challenge you to complete the 30 circles exercise with your team and tag us on Facebook or Twitter with the photos. We can’t wait to see where their imagination takes them!

For many, the first step into your industry-of-choice starts with an internship. In preparation for this “real world” introduction, take the following steps to earn your graphic design internship.

  1. Research the company
  2. Be yourself
  3. Bring a portfolio
  4. Talk through your process
  5. Send a thank you note

After selecting companies you feel fit your creative spirit and career aspirations, pour your passion into crafting a perfect cover letter and resume, remain diligent about following up with prospective employers, answer every phone call and monitor email to ensure you don’t miss out on the opportunity for an interview. Then, after all the waiting — and let’s be honest, some stress — you receive the call offering an interview for the design internship of your dreams! So, what do you do now to prepare?

1. Research the company

Now that the interview is scheduled and placed on your calendar (hint, hint!), the first thing you should do is research the company, in detail, if you haven’t already. Read about how the company started, make note of the leadership, research their company culture, list of clients and portfolio of work. This initial step will help when the employer asks, and they will ask, “Why are you interested in a design internship with us?” You will demonstrate that you took the initiative to research and familiarize yourself with their company.


2. Be yourself

This one tops the list for any interview, but it’s true. Most people get a case of the nerves during any interview, so you are not alone if you feel anxious the day-of. Take a few deep breaths, try to stay relaxed and just be yourself. Employers want to see the real you. Not only do employers look to see if your skillsets are up to par, but they also take into consideration how you fit into their culture. Have personality during the interview and show the company why you’d be a great extension of their team.

3. Bring a portfolio

When interviewing for a graphic design internship, make sure you bring a professional and polished portfolio in digital and/or print versions. If you designed a website, bring an iPad or laptop with you to the interview so you can walk through the site — do not rely on the interviewer to supply the technology. If you designed a printed piece, bring a mock-up so you can talk through your design process from conception to implementation. An equally important second part to this step — take pride in your work. As you talk through your portfolio with the interviewer, speak with confidence about the things you created. Do not mention what you should have done or would have done. Talk about your pieces in a positive light and focus on things you did well in the execution, or how you solved the design problem.

4. Talk through your process

While your portfolio shows the interviewer the end-product of your creativity, it does not convey the story behind your creative genius. Start with explaining the project or assignment to show your understanding of the audience and design problem. Demonstrate your critical and design thinking by answering the following questions:

  • What challenges did the project present and how did you solve them?
  • Did you work within a budget or time constraints?
  • What was your strategic approach?

As you explain, take ownership of the project and the design decisions you made along the way. Describe your purposeful design choices that influenced your decisions and the strategy behind them. Please know, graphic design professionals do not want to hear you did something “because it was pretty.”

5. Send a thank you note

After you make it through the interview — and, you will definitely make it through — be sure to send a thank you note to the interviewers. This may seem like an outdated gesture, but a handwritten thank you note speaks volumes. Take the opportunity to thank them once again for their time and consideration and to express your interest in interning with their company. Not to mention, it will help you stay fresh in their minds as they make their decision.

Making the best impression during your interview requires preparation. While you’re there to try and land an internship, you could also be speaking with your future full-time employer. Take the necessary steps to impress before and after the interview, and always remember to be yourself.

Stay connected with A. Bright Idea by checking the careers section on our website for any future employment or internship opportunities.