Jon Thom, designer, explains how he nurtures good ideas

We spoke to Jon Thom from Motion Sickness Studio, Moodie Tuesday, and The Print Room about how he comes up with good ideas.

1. What do you do at Motion Sickness Studio? Are you involved with the ideation process?

I have a background in Communication and Product Design. My role at Motion Sickness is primarily around digital content creation and curation, this takes the form of video, photography, and writing blog posts for clients. The other side of what I do is web and graphic design.

We work with our client to understand their needs and then work to create a solution that will meet their needs and goals. The client provides the brief or parameters for myself and the rest of the team to work through the ideation process from initial concept through to the final product.

2. Where do you think creativity comes from? Can it be learned or is it intrinsic?

I think creativity is both learned and intrinsic. I think most people have some sort of creativity but may not have been taught how to harness or express this.

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I think with the right design toolkit and people around you, it is possible to come up with some amazing ideas. Before I went to University I had not been taught design thinking or processes – I look back at my early work now and cringe a little.

I had a creative background because I had been making art as long as I can remember, however, a different mindset is needed to solve a design problem compared to creating a piece of fine art.

I think for me design involves much more process – the process defines and refines the outcome as you are constantly iterating the concept.

3. How do you approach a project that needs ideas? What do you find helpful when you need to come up with ideas?

I need good people around me and we all need to have open minds. A clear brief from the client is helpful in defining the scope/direction of the project. When it comes to designing, I find I come up with much better ideas when I work in a group where my ideas are challenged, but I do not feel threatened and feel as though my ideas are being listened to.

I think for the initial ideation phase, any solution is a possible solution to the design problem, then it is a matter of iterating the strongest concepts in the group and refining these until we can deliver a solution. A few other things I think that help with creativity are: natural light, water, coffee, beer, music, a large table, paper and pens!

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4. How do you overcome mental blocks?

This is still something I am still trying to figure out for myself. I am constantly looking for inspiration. Creative people will understand what I mean by the feeling of emptiness you experience when you hit a mental block and the excitement you feel when something really inspires you.

I think my experiences outside of the office help to overcome blocks, getting out into some fresh air and some space helps. Talking your ideas over with people who are unrelated to the project is also good I think but need to be done with sensitivity to the project. Others think in a different way than I do and give me a different insight, which could lead a project in a completely different direction I might not have thought to explore.

If you’d like to get in touch with Motion Sickness Studios and work with Jon Thom, check out their website or email

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