Creative Cue: Index Card Challenge

An index card is so ordinary. It’s inexpensive. It’s easily accessible. It’s small. Yet all of these also make it an ideal medium for innovation and creativity, too.

So, grab one or—better yet—splurge on a whole pack (which usually equates to less an $1). Then, get ready to get creative. Below are just a few ideas to help stretch your imagination when it comes to the simple, small piece of cardstock.

  • Challenge yourself to engage all the edges.
    Draw a simple illustration or design that covers the entire card and stretches to touch all the sides of the card in some way.
  • Make a mini monochromatic artwork.
    The small scale of an index card can help make what would otherwise seem daunting far more approachable and less scary. So, choose one color. Then, make a scaled-down artwork using only the various tints, shades and values you can create with the single hue.
  • Piece together a larger, more complicated illustration.
    One of the best ways to improve your drawing skills is by breaking a larger composition or project into smaller “chunks.” To do this, find (or take a picture) and print it out. Then, divide the image into quadrants or equal sized sections. Next, draw each section on an individual index card. When each section is completed, the various index cards can be pieced back together to reveal the completed composition. This process accomplishes two things: 1) It takes a larger, more intimidating project and breaks it down into more manageable portions, and 2) It forces you to focus on minute sections and shapes, training you to better trust what you see and not what you expect to see.
  • Design and color mini affirmation posters.
    Choose an inspiring word or short phrase and feature it prominently on the index card. Then, create a beautiful design around it. Post it somewhere in your home, planner, or car to boost your spirits or pass the positivity by mailing it to someone else.
  • Invent an entirely new way to use index cards.
    Sometimes the most mundane and simple items can prove to be the most useful. Consider the different ways you might be able to use the humble index card. Could you create a new game to share with your children? Could you devise a new notetaking system that’s more suited and effective for you personally? Could you use it create a personalized bookmarking system? The possibilities are literally endless. The goal of this experiment is to intentionally practice not being boxed in. Sure, it’s an index card. But stop to consider—and wonder—what it could also become.
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