Creative motivation: Where do our “sparks” come from?

January 26, 2021
Holy Wahcamoly guitar effect pedal
By Todd Novak, Creative Director 

A question I often get – and frankly have asked myself many times – is, how do we find creative motivation? Our creative team and I are continuously tasked to think beyond our clients’ expectations and create experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. An important aspect of our work at Origo Branding is studying brands, products, and services, then reflecting on what affected us and why — endeavoring towards a creative solution. 

My friend and renowned Dutch guitar effects pedal creator, who goes by the moniker “Dr. No,” mentioned in an interview, “I find that every new creative process arises from a small spark.”

But what is that “spark,” and where does it come from?

I think that spark is what happens when inspiration connects with a creative need or purpose. That is often the little explosion we get in our heads when we are relaxed and least expect it, and it sets us on a path of imagination and problem-solving. We often find inspiration in an interesting book, movie, art, music, and so many other things. I have found inspiration in Dr. No’s effects pedals because he constantly pushes the envelope and creates unique items in the guitar gear industry.

Most often, I seem to find inspiration in things when I am not really looking for it. By being open and receptive to things in my periphery, I can find inspiration everywhere. I also try to surround myself with interesting people, which often leads to experiences I never expected.

Detail of Colossus guitar effect pedal and box

Outside of my career as Origo’s Creative Director, guitars are my passion. So much so that I founded a podcast for guitar enthusiasts called “The Guitar Knobs,” where we interview creators of guitar gear, such as effects pedals. If you’re not sure what a guitar effect pedal is, you’re not alone. To sum it up, guitars connect to effects pedals to create different variations of sounds.

In one episode of my podcast, I interviewed Dr. No – which is a rare occurrence for him – and over the course of an hour, we talked at length about his creative motivation and process. He shared that each of his pedals must have a story and how he finds it.

“The story starts with a spark, which appears through a deep appreciation of a subject that interests me and becomes greater through an intense focus on it,” Dr. No said.

The result of that process has made Dr. No highly regarded in the guitar world. In his quest for story connection, he has furthered the standard of concept. His packaging and product design have made his effects pedals highly collectible. And through his process of using unique materials and producing parts that never existed before, he has raised the bar on imagination and craft.

Detail of Colossus guitar effect pedal

I decided to bring in a few of my own pedals created by Dr. No to share with our creative team here at Origo. I was interested to see how a group of people with no context of effects pedals reacted to them. Together, we discussed the packaging, the silk-screened designs, the molded parts, and of course, the stories at the heart of each effect pedal.

We also reflected on how he branded and positioned himself in the market. Dr. No found his place in the guitar world among hundreds of brands by pushing the boundaries of the guitar gear market’s expectations, making them highly sought after and very valuable. 

Holy Wahcamoly guitar effect pedal

It was clear to me that everyone left with a newfound appreciation, or even potential inspiration, for the level of thought and craft we saw in Dr. No’s work. These conversations left me wondering how we could apply that positive energy to the work we do at Origo and further our creative efforts. Sharing experiences like this helped us appreciate something together. And as a team, it left us feeling inspired to raise our own individual efforts to find that “spark” and meet our next creative challenge.

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