Cover for A General Theory of Love, designed by John Gall
Have a look at this charming video interview with book designer John Gall. He talks about his idiosyncratic design aesthetic and willingness to make bold moves.
Gall mentions the dichotomy of quiet time balanced by bursts of creative energy. I find I spend a lot of my creative time just looking, considering, trying out ideas. After a certain point I reach a watershed and the image just pours out.
Gall is also right that deadlines are powerful motivators. Here's another interview with John Gall at Step Inside Design.
Great design awes me. I've never considered myself an Idea Man, but I believe that is what a designer does. They hold up a clever mirror to culture. When I see a piece of good design, a well-made form that complements the content it's wrapped around, I think "Of course! Why didn't I look at it that way before?"