Paper Matters Blog
Working in the “New Normal” as a Creative

What is the “New Normal?”

It’s fair to say that office life, since COVID-19, has changed. For now, gone are the days of quick office drop-ins just to say hi, hallway “drive-by” meetings and the constant daily interruptions that were a part of the collaborative work environment that we were all accustomed to. In the blink of an eye, we had to pack up and start working from home. Forced to Zoom, FaceTime, email, text or conference call in order to keep collaborating with our co-workers.

From transferring large files to co-workers over a remote connection to trying to produce decent photography, these factors have made this new environment even more challenging for the creative professional. Here are some tips to make the best of your new, hopefully temporary, home office.

Utilize File Transfer Services for larger files

 Sending a Word document, via email, to a colleague is one thing but sending a 15MB file or larger can potentially clog up their inbox. Now throw in the fact that all home internet speeds are not created equal so sending beefy files back and forth over a remote connection can be a cause for frustration. Utilizing File transfer services such as DropBox or WeTransfer can be a lifesaver. Most of these services require a monthly plan depending on what kinds of bells and whistles you’re looking for. I am a big fan of because you can send attachments of up to 1 Gigabyte without having to sign up for an account. Check with your company’s IT department before using one of these services because they may have policies on using outside services to share sensitive company documents.

Harness the sun to take photos from home

As an in-house designer, you have a lot of tools at your disposal. This includes a small area and lighting to take product photographs. So, when it came time to work from home, our team was able to split up some of the lighting equipment to set up a make-shift studio from our homes. Some of you may not have that luxury. What’s the next best thing? The sun! Here are some quick tips for creating a quick, inexpensive home photo “studio.”

  • Find a large window in your home with access to lots of natural light
  • Use a “sweep” (basically a seamless white background made from a sheet or other material) to place your object on
  • Diffuse harsh afternoon sun by placing a sheet or other translucent material over the window
  • Explore different angles to shoot your object. This adds visual interest.
  • Use a tripod to stabilize your camera. This will eliminate any blurry images from hand-holding your camera.
  • Don’t have a camera? Use your smartphone. Most phones these days have powerful cameras, with some of the same settings as a DSLR, that can give you optimum results.

Get Creatively Unstuck

As a creative professional, we’re asked to constantly solve problems but sometimes the well runs dry. When it happens, it can be very frustrating. Here are some tips to that creative juju moving again:

  • Don’t panic. Recognize it and then reflect on why you think you’re stuck. The main reason we find ourselves stuck is that we have gradually complicated the process.
  • Walk away. The upside of working from home is that you can step away from your desk and get a change of scenery. Getting a breath of fresh air can do wonders and create an opportunity for reflection and possible ways to re-approach the problems you’re having with a project.
  • Collaborate! Being forced to work from home has widened the collaboration gap. Close that gap by calling your creative colleagues and bouncing ideas off of them. They’re probably dealing with the same struggles. These idea sessions could lead to some new and unique solutions.
  • Be curious. Look around you. Ideas are all around you. Take note of the curious little things in your environment that you’ve never really paid attention to and use them to your advantage. You may be surprised by the powerful ideas that come to mind.

For more ideas and inspiration, download our latest Best of Paper Matters magazine digital edition. You will find additional tips to keep the creative fires fueled.

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