“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
- Albert Einstein
The 30 Circles Test was developed by Stanford Creativity Researcher Bob McKim. It is an excellent way to exercise your imagination, practise working within restrictions, and sharpen your mind.
You can try this exercise every time you hit a creative or productive block as it will help to get your brain and ideas flowing again.
You may find this exercise difficult because, as adults we tend to criticise and self edit ourselves as we go along, whereas a child is more open to exploring possibilities. Children are used to looking at objects for what they can be, instead of what they are, because they haven’t yet learned the specific purpose of specific items.
Take a few blank pieces of paper and draw thirty circles on them. They don’t need to be any particular size, but big enough to doodle within.
In as quick as time as you can (two to five minutes is ideal), adapt or fill as many circles as you can into objects or ideas.
Patterns, shapes, objects, words are all acceptable — there is no write or wrong way. The key to this exercise is quantity over quality.
Fill as many circles as you can into recognisable objects.
For example, one circle could be the sun, another could be a logo.
Don’t worry about them being perfect pictures — part of being creative means not always being perfect.