It’s been fun to see collage and vision boards resurface in recent years in the online space. I think Pinterest may have had something to do with the love of collecting our favorite things onto a board.
I’ve loved collage since I was a child. It was a way of expressing creativity without following the rules. Collage is both visual and visceral. It’s expressing what’s in our heart and minds that won’t always easily be put into words.
As a business owner, entrepreneur or creative, why create a collage for your professional work? I can identify six reasons working on a collage will strengthen the vision and effectiveness of your vision. After that I provide a brief guide on how to have your own creative collage hour. (Put it on your calendar now! You won’t regret it).
Creating collages can express things we are thinking and feeling, but not necessarily put into words.
We’re a very wordy society. Creating a collage is based lesson a quantity of words and more on the impact of a few distinctive words, colors and images.
Working with color, words and images can give us clues for where we want to go (that we didn’t even realize).
I encourage people to cut out words that resonate with where they are regardless if the words make logical sense to them. Being chronically busy creates surface level living. We stop doing the deeper work necessary to innovate and do the thinking that would help us move forward. Chronic busyness leads to reactivity while slowing down allows things to surface and gets us to where we really want to go.
I love Pinterest and use Pinterest in exercises with clients. Sometimes I need to slow down and consider what is going on in a certain area of life (such as business) and see where new ideas are birthing.
Slowing down and creating a collage helps birth new ideas not considered before.
If you haven’t created a collage before, you may just have to take my word for it! It’s amazing how thinking and energy can shift as we start to work through a project on a visual board.
Creating a collage uses a different part of the brain than creating a more analytical structure. We’re looking at images and colors and the goal is to be a bit more in touch with your feelings and what you gut is trying to tell you. It’s not woo-woo, it’s using a different skill set. And the results can be quite insightful.
A collage is a great place to work out the personality and brand of your business.
I’ve used collage for many things, but I hadn’t considered the power of using collage for my business until the past few years. I became influenced through the Smart Creative Style course with Monica Lee, Fiona Humberstone’s work and a coach who had me use collage in our work together. The act of working through the collage- mixing colors and words, taking things off and putting things on, considering why things spoke to me and others looked “off” has been some of the most significant exercises in finding my own voice.
Working with our hands and creating something physical helps our brain process things. Plus, it’s FUN.
I’m not sure where we got the idea that work has to be serious and straight faced. I know not everyone has that approach, but many businesses do. Collage is a great way to lighten up, get a little less serious and a little more solution oriented and have FUN. Get a little messy, laugh a little. It’s fun work and a bit of that can breathe fresh life into your business!
Collages help those of us who are not analytical process ideas, plans and strategies.
We don’t all think alike. In a world where spreadsheets rule as well as formal business plans and other traditional business guidelines, creating a collage may seem a bit “light and fluffy” at worst and “non-traditional” at best. I argue that collage is a structure- it is more free flowing and intuitive than a spread sheet, but it provides a way to work things out and create a visual presentation.
So…..are you curious to create a collage to help you in your business? Here are the basic guidelines to get started. There are many ways to use collage in your business. I’ve tried to keep this guideline simple enough for you to apply it to your projects. If you have questions, please leave them in the commments below.
1.Decide what you want your collage to be.
A coach assigned me to create a collage describing my ideal customer. This was one of the most challenging collages for me because I had to separate the clients I had from the ones I really wanted to work with.
I enjoyed (most) all of my clients and I almost felt that I was betraying them by saying what l really wanted. This was a great reflection point for me. Once I got past that, I realized that while I loved my clients, there were definitely those that I not only enjoyed working with, it was incredibly energizing for both of us.
A recent client launched a business. She had an idea of what she wanted her business to look like, but it was very conceptual with a lot of ideas going in different directions! Getting things down on a board helped her identify what really reflected her business and what didn’t belong.
We started out together by having her create a vision board of colors, fonts and images that she thought reflected her business.
- Decide on a time and gather your supplies.
An hour is a good start time. Sometimes I will clip words out of magazines as I go through them and store the words in an envelope. On collage day, the words get dumped on a blank poster board to sort through.
- Pick out words and colors that speak to you.
You can delete the words and images as you go through the decision making process. Go with your gut, especially if your eyes (and brain) continue to notice a specific word. Listen to your subconscious talking to you through the work. You may not figure out how it fits- that’s okay. The effects of a collage percolate with a little bit of time.
4. Spend at least 15 minutes arranging them, looking at them and seeing what fits.
Questions to ask yourself: what seems not to fit? Am I choosing these words because I think I should or do they really resonate with me?
Does this reflect where I’m going or where I’ve been?
- Make it permanent!
This isn’t going in an art museum, so don’t stress about how it looks too much. Remember, this is solution oriented- part inspiration – part vision – part getting unstuck project.
Using mod-podge or double sided tape, apply your images and words to the canvas or paper.
- Put your board somewhere you can see it regularly. Let the visual images guide you and remind you of your exercises when anxiety creeps up or your tempted to change things in a reactive mode.
Business plans get put in drawers and seminar agendas are left in binders, but there’s something about a visual board of images, words and colors that has staying power in the mind. No one else has to see it but you.
I encourage business owners to create a collage at least twice a year to dig up new ideas, plan out where they want to go, create a board of their ideal clients and other exercises.
Have you used collage to help you strengthen your business brand or refine a message? I’d love to hear about it- let me know on instagram @melissauclair or Facebook @thecreativeseason