12 Traits of Creative People

Updated March 10, 2023

A person in a studio holds a ceramic mug while leaning down to look at a laptop.

Creative people have traits that they can use in a variety of roles—not just creative ones. Creativity does not solely signify having artistic capabilities, as these creative traits exhibit themselves in the way you think. You can use creative skills to develop diverse and innovative ways to solve problems.

In this article, we provide a list of 12 traits associated with creative people.

12 common characteristics of creative people

Creativity enables individuals to generate new or innovative ideas, then bring them into existence. Having the characteristics of a creative thinker often enable individuals to generate innovative solutions to their problems. Here are 12 traits that creative people possess and use in their daily lives:

1. Curious

Creative people enjoy learning new things, so their free time may include reading books or watching videos about topics they find interesting. They often find it exciting or satisfying to take on the task of understanding concepts with which they do not already have familiarity. Creative people may seek opportunities to learn new skills for personal reasons or to perform better.

They bring this curiosity to their work, often by asking questions. For example, a creative person might try to create innovative product ideas by asking, "Why?" They might say, "Why do we not sell a product that does this?" If someone tells them they cannot do something, they ask, "Why not?" Some may start a discussion by asking, "What if?" These questions aim to create discussions around an idea and allow for experimentation. This approach can also serve as a brainstorming technique, where the group tries to figure out ways to make something intangible or impossible into a reality.

Related: 25 Brainstorming Techniques for Team Inspiration

2. Playful

Creative people are willing to play with various ideas until they find the right one. The sense of playfulness means that they have fun with this process, rather than taking it too seriously. Sometimes the best ideas can develop through accidents or unintentionally.

As a result, they do not put pressure on themselves to get it right the first time. For example, a graphic designer might experiment with various colors and font styles when creating a logo. When an idea enters their mind, they will try it and assess whether it feels right. If not, they move on to the next one. They may eventually compare all these ideas to determine their final choice.

3. Open-minded

An open-minded person is willing to hear and try new ideas. When collaborating with others, creative people want to hear all the possibilities and explore them further. Due to their open-mindedness, they do not judge others' ideas or perspectives. Instead, they take the time to listen to others so they can better understand them.

They also are open to new experiences, so they enjoy trying various ways of performing tasks. Trying new things can often bring excitement into their days. Being open to new experiences can be as simple as taking a different route on the way to work one day. If they receive a project assignment, they may choose to work with someone new rather than teaming up with their usual colleague.

Related: Creativity in the Workplace: Characteristics and Examples

4. Flexible

Similar to open-mindedness, creative people often have a strong sense of flexibility. This trait supports their willingness to try new ideas and experiences. People with a strong sense of flexibility also feel more comfortable adapting to change. For example, they may find it easier to adjust their processes when they must switch from one using software to another or work with a new set of team members.

Flexibility also enables creative people to change their minds about ideas, which makes them more willing to admit when they are wrong. For example, even if a creative person initially dislikes a colleague's idea for conducting a work process, they are willing to listen to the reasoning behind it. Once they hear the other person's perspective, they may realize that they did not fully understand the idea initially and now can admit they were wrong. Creative people accept their mistakes because they see them as a chance to learn something new and grow from them.

5. Sensitive

Due to their open nature, creative people also tend to be sensitive. This sensitivity can help them in many areas of life, both personally and professionally. Sensitive people tend to appear more approachable to others and willing to listen to their thoughts or feelings. Through caring about how others feel, they often have an easier time building strong and trusting relationships.

Their sensitivity can also increase their awareness of the issues around them, which sometimes can cause them to care even more about solving them. For example, a creative person who works in product development may take a very empathetic, customer-centered approach. They want to ensure that the product solves customers' needs effectively and creates a positive experience. Depending on the product, their sensitivity may encourage them to find ways to make it more accessible to all customers.

Related: 18 Creativity Exercises To Improve Creative Thinking at Work

6. Independent

Working independently allows creative people to embrace their personal freedom. They can make their own decisions on how to do things, without instruction or demands from others. Often, this independent nature also means creative people feel comfortable taking on challenges themselves. With their freedom, they can take as long as they need to understand the task and how to complete it. They may even see these challenges as opportunities to grow professionally and develop their skills.

While creative individuals enjoy collaborating with others, they often also work on tasks alone. For example, an artist will paint independently to allow complete focus on their process. This independence allows them to take as long as they need to make decisions, such as what paint to use.

7. Risk-taking

Creative people are willing to take on the risks associated with trying new ideas. They do not know if a concept is a bad one until it is tested or examined—so all ideas pose the potential for solutions. Even if one fails, it can serve as a lesson on how to do better in the future. To them, not taking risks hinders innovation because it requires staying within one's comfort zone.

To increase tolerance for risk-taking, creative people think about the reward potential. While customers could hate a product, there is also the potential for it to become the year's best-selling product. And if it is something they believe could help people or improve their lives, for example, they see that as a risk worth taking.

Related: 16 Techniques for Creativity

8. Intuitive

An intuitive person makes decisions based on feelings—creative people may tap into this ability more than other people. They trust in themselves to follow their hearts, rather than feeling restricted by more logical demands. Intuition may not always lead to the perfect solution, but it is a helpful tool when brainstorming and generating ideas.

Some individuals combine their intuition with logical reasoning. For example, they may solely use intuition to generate ideas for a new product, then start implementing logic to test its feasibility. When they look beyond the facts or what already exists, they may create innovations that have not been tried before. In the next step of the creative process, they determine whether there is a reason why they cannot bring those ideas to life.

9. Thorough

Creative people often put a lot of thought and care into their work. They look at an issue from all possible angles as they seek solutions. Then they test all the possible solutions until they find one that best meets their needs. At times, this may mean that they pay attention to details that seem minor to others.

For example, when designing a pair of running shoes, a creative person will look at every possible detail. They will think about what types of treads and shoe materials will help the wearer run faster. Then they may think about other components that would be important to the wearer, such as the shoes' performance in different types of weather and how comfortable they feel.

Related: The Importance of Creativity in Business

10. Ambitious

Creative people often have an awareness of how much effort goes into their work. They understand that the perfect solution does not always come easily, so they must put in the work toward achieving it. When creative people have a passion for something, they will visualize their goals and commit themselves to attaining them. These goals can vary, whether they include completing a task or practicing an activity until they become skilled at it.

Despite their flexibility and openness in other areas, this awareness sometimes requires them to take a more disciplined approach. For example, someone who wants to write a book may develop a writing routine for themselves. By committing to writing 500 words a day, they keep their skills active and may improve them. Breaking large tasks into smaller, more attainable pieces and incorporating them into a consistent routine can make complex processes more manageable.

11. Objective

Creative people often feel passionate about what they do, but they also understand the need to remain objective. While they strive to create the best work possible, they realize they cannot reach that goal right away. It often takes continued practice and editing.

For example, when a writer turns in the first draft of their novel, they realize it cannot be published immediately. They separate themselves from their work and listen to an editor's opinions on where to make improvements. Without taking that feedback, they would not move any closer to achieving their goal of publishing the novel.

Related: Understanding Constructive Criticism: Definition, Tips and Examples

12. Energetic

Creative people may often be energetic—this does not mean they appear hyperactive, but they put a lot of energy into their work. They often feel passionate about tasks and show their enthusiasm when performing them. When creative people put their full energy into something, it can lead them to focus on it for hours until they complete it. However, they always bring their passion, so the work does not necessarily feel like work. Instead, they may gain enjoyment or satisfaction from their experiences.

This trait creates benefits for team members, as the creative person's high energy can often transfer to their colleagues. For example, when a team is beginning the brainstorming process, having an individual who starts the session with enthusiasm and builds excitement around the process can make the other participants more eager to participate.

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