The Oblique Strategies are a deck of cards. They were first developed by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt as a tool to overcome moments of creative pressure or stagnation.
In my design work, time constraints can sometimes steer me away from ideas that would lead to better, more innovative work. Obliques are a way to nudge myself back toward creative problem-solving - reminding me that unexpected surprises can occur when I have time and freedom to create something new.
I first learned about Obliques from one of my design mentors, Christopher Knowles. They've become a cornerstone of my creative practice, and some of my favorite work has come from the challenges presented by these prompts.
I try to do an Oblique at least once per week. Here are just a few of them.
(Want to try an one for yourself? At the end of this section, there's a link to a deck I designed that will walk you through the process. Enjoy!)
Subject Card: "a wild organism; a sunny sky"
Oblique Card: "only one element"
Subject Card: "use something nearby"
Oblique Card: "make it move"
An Unacceptable Color
Subject Card: "use an unacceptable color"
Oblique Card: "do we need holes?"
More About the Process
To learn more about the oblique process, and to try it out for yourself, you can access a presentation I made here. I used this in my job at New Story to help the design team exercise our creative muscles.