It seems that lately I’ve been in several discussions about the general “Creative Process” that surrounds any form of design. So much so, that I felt compelled to write an article discussing what I believe are the more-often-than-not truths surrounding it. I for one have my personal perspectives on it, and I welcome the voices of other that agree or oppose my own – but to me, that is the fundamental beauty of creativity; there is no “correct” singular view.
Most of my idea for this article stems from me speaking with a recent graduate of one of the many prestigious Art Academies around my local area. In his search for a job, which is tough on many artists these days, he began to doubt himself due to what he felt was a true lack of creative direction. Even worse, he felt that his art school background only reinforced this doubt by making one centralized standard for all students to adhere to, saying that these rules are the backbone of making great designs.
Hear me now – in my humble opinion, the greatest works of art are not the ones that are executed within the rules perfectly, but the ones that break the rules so well that the rules become mindless dribble.
Certainly, I don’t mean to say that kerning isn’t important, or that lining things up based on rule of thirds won’t make a shot have more of a natural visual interest. But in a grander sense, those types of things only matter within the context to which you want them to. Maybe your mission as an artist is to make the viewer see things uneasily. In that situation, kerning, rule of thirds, line-spacing or several of the other “basic” elements may need to fundamentally be thrown out the window.
Whether it’s good or not is for you as the artist, and us as the viewer to determine. But that’s both the voyeur and the self-conscience aspect of being a designer and artist. Standing strong in what you do is ultimately what will separate the great from the average. Having the confidence TO break down those barriers.
And this is what lead me to the creative process – something that I truly, strongly and deeply believe is centric to our confidence as artists. I recently posted an updated Showreel for 2011, and someone in the comments asked me, “Where does your inspiration come from?” That’s an interesting question, because to be quite frank, I didn’t know.
In the most cliché of terms, my inspiration comes from everywhere. Walking around the beautiful city I live in, conversations with friends (ie: this article), working with and seeing work from other designers are all things that I believe lead me to have the best ideas that fit my briefs. But more important than any of that, is that my creative process surrounds thinking that every brief is a problem with a solution, and that my job is to solve the problem.
In my nature, I don’t truly believe that I am an artist. I can’t remember the last time that I just whipped out a pad of paper and drew a masterpiece (not that I really ever could draw). I rarely can self-create briefs for self-projects, and quite frankly, never took up interest in splashing paint around the canvas just to “experiment”. Those to me are traditional artists, of which I put the likes of Monet, DaVinci, and hundreds of famous painters, architects and sculptors. As a matter of fact, I think it’s been almost two years since I truly did work without a brief, and to be honest, I don’t think it really turned out that good.
So what am I then? How could I possibly be a successful designer? Simply put, I am a problem solver with an acute sense of observation and detail. Where I am at my strengths is analyzing a brief, as well as my client (how many times does the brief really state what the client is looking for), and I creatively come up with a solution that “fits” what my client is after. Sometimes that’s amazing works of art, massive 3d animations that will test every limit of my technical knowledge. Others, it’s a very simple, clean logo presentation.
Art is for artists, design is for delivering a messages. What’s right, wrong, in-vogue, or anything else, quite frankly doesn’t matter. Your job as a designer is to make a product that the people who’ve hired you believe fits their needs. Stylistically, there’s always a balance that needs to occur between the visuals and the brief. And of the millions of ways to solve a project, I always start there.
What’s you’re creative process? Do you agree? Disagree?