Do you have a creative project idea and are overwhelmed at where to start?
The Creative Canvas is for you.
The Creative Canvas is an idea exploration and planning tool for creative projects. I first developed the Creative Canvas in 2017 to help artists, designers, and other creative professionals gain clarity on their work, and to guide them in transforming their ideas into reality.
The Creative Canvas is based on two other popular business management templates, the Business Model Canvas (BMC) and the Lean Canvas. Both are now a standard part of every startup’s toolkit. In fact, if you visit any coworking or entrepreneurial incubator space, chances are high that you’ll see a business model canvas tacked to some wall or drawn on a whiteboard. These canvases are also used as strategic tools in nonprofits as well as at major corporations around the world.
Why a different canvas was needed
In working with art and design students, creative professionals, and others who did not have business training, I realized that a new canvas was needed. In particular, I noted three reasons:
- Creative projects are not always entrepreneurial products or services.
Often these projects are centered on personal expression or social good. While they may have entrepreneurial elements, these initiatives often require thinking and planning that go beyond business considerations.
- Individuals in creative disciplines often develop projects with success measured in ways that differ from a company.
While a company is generally focused on revenue and profits, creative projects may have different metrics. These could be as diverse as building a brand or reputation, tracking attendance or reach, charting community and social impact, or even measuring how much fun the project was to do.
- Business terminology can be confusing and intimidating to those in non-business fields.
I wanted to demystify the language that often surrounds strategic business tools and to provide access to these powerful planning methods to a much wider audience.
Introducing the Creative Canvas, version 3.0
The Creative Canvas has been tested with hundreds of students and professionals, ranging from art and design students in studio classes and workshops, MBA students in entrepreneurship programs, and my executive consulting clients in the field. I am pleased to share with you the most recent version, the Creative Canvas 3.0. The new version reflects key refinements that address the context and competitive landscape of a project, as well as specific metrics that indicate progress toward a project’s goals.
As before, a full tutorial on how to use the Creative Canvas is included on the back of the sheet. (It is a two-page PDF download.) The file can be printed at any size, but 11×17-inch tabloid format seems to work best.
Available to share freely
I invite you to download the Creative Canvas and join the growing number of individuals who have developed their creative project from idea to successful completion using this tool. The Creative Canvas remains licensed under Creative Commons, so it is available to share freely. It’s been very satisfying to see the many projects that have arisen from using the Creative Canvas, and I look forward to hearing about yours. Thanks for spreading the word.
Make something happen,