Review: Your Idea Starts Here

In the cut-throat creative industries, being able to think quickly and creatively under pressure is an essential art.

That’s why graphic designer and art director Carolyn Eckert wrote Your Idea Starts Here – a beautifully crafted, pocket-sized explosion of tips, tricks and techniques that promises to jump-start your creative thinking.

For example, if you don’t know what you want your project to be, tip 03 suggests writing down what you don’t want it to be.

But there’s no risk of feeling short-changed: this particular piece of advice is supplemented with two rich, bite-sized anecdotes – one involving Florence Nightingale; the other radiologist Steven Meyers – adding depth and extra meaning to the topic.

Your Idea Starts Here: tip 27

Pace is pitched perfectly, with quicker tips balanced by longer explanations elsewhere – as with tip 15, “Let nature figure it out”, which explains how the principles of echolocation used by bats can be used to teach the blind to ride a bicycle. Over the page, Eckert then talks through the invention of velcro in engaging detail.

Throughout, beautiful illustrations, photography and other visuals punctuate the pages with fun and interest, while a clear graphic system threads together the 77 different techniques.

Yet – and this is the point – readers don’t have to pursue the title systematically from start to finish. As Eckert promises: you can dive in anywhere.

Your Idea Starts Here

“There is no right or best way to get ideas,” she points out in the book. “But the more open you are to possibility, and the more you observe, listen, read, talk to people, and travel (even just down the block), the more connections you’ll make. And one idea leads to another…”

Split into three stages that cover gathering inspiration, breaking it down and building the parts into something new, Your Idea Starts Here is packed with useful processes, fascinating facts and pro tips that Eckert has picked up over the course of her career – and will definitely get you thinking.

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