Book Review: Caffeine for the Creative Mind

Time to time people in the creative industry are bound to run low on their creative juices and then need something to get back on track. This book will not only help those creatives out, but get them into gear. Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield is a fantastic book for thinking outside of the box…

Who is this book for?

This book is for any designer, writer or anyone that wants to get their imagination going. It’s great to do an exercise each morning to get your day started, or even just when you’re feeling you need a little inspiration.

What’s the book about?

The book is cram-packed with 250 – 15-minute exercises to fuel your creative engine. What’s fantastic about this book, is that there are are all types of exercises such as design, photography, idea kindling, play, problem solving and writing.

There are also a few interviews with some prominent creative people which are quite interesting reads, as they discuss how they deal with satisfying their creative needs.

The book has an edgy sketchbook design which is visually appealing and it sets the tone for the book, as many of the exercises include sketching or using your everyday environment to create something. Some examples include phrases, icons, words, using a digital camera, pictures or even magazine cutouts. All of this helps to develop a working and productive creative mindset. See examples below.

The Doodle

Perspective is a key ingredient in creative thought. Everyone has a different perspective on everything even if it’s only slightly different.

Use your own unique perspective to finish this drawing. Turn the paper to whatever angle you desire. There is no “right side up.” Simply document what it is you see and finish the drawing using pencil, pen, crayons, inks, or whatever tool you’d like.

Proof that everyone has a different perspective. Here is what other featured interviewees from the book did:

That Penguin is Throwing up on My Pants

Fire hydrants are cool. Unless you didn’t see it on the street and ran into it with your bike. But that’s another story. Fire hydrants are cool, but they’re bland. They serve one purpose : to provide water to a fire truck if need be. Some have used it to create a much needed summer oasis of urban-style water fun, but its intended purpose is to extinguish fires. Typically, fire hydrants are red or yellow, making them fairly apparent to an oncoming fire truck (but seemingly invisible to an unsuspecting cyclist). Your task today is to give that fire hydrant a new face.

Create a new look for the fire hydrant based on its current design. You can’t change the way the fire hydrant is built, only how it is painted. The structural design must remain in tact. Evaluate its shape and paint something new on the fire hydrant.

Creativity needs to be exercised, and this book definitely helps to do so!
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