©2011 Michael Glenwood Gibbs.
Creativity is a funny thing. For that matter, so is graphic design. It inhabits a weird netherworld of a profession where it looks really easy when done really well—I think of it as figure skating in that way—but is actually pretty demanding: requiring research, analytical thinking, discipline, constant practice, and ample amounts of intuition. All that before any knowledge of software.
Many clients have no idea, nor appreciation for, what we designers go through just to pull decent ideas out. We are an underappreciated profession, and thus our work is not valued as much as, say a lawyer or dentist, but I think we are all savvy enough to know the value we creative types bring to a brand. Nike gets it. For every item sold in a store a huge percentage of the cost of that running shoe covers design and marketing. Look at what Under Armor spends to compete with Nike in terms of marketing. Gobs of cash. A lot is at stake as brands compete for market share.
Who comes up with the design and marketing campaigns that support and promote products? Creative types such as ourselves. And the pressure to be creative on a consistent basis is hard. One week ideas are flowing and the next nada. Panic ensues as deadlines get closer and the pressure is on to stoke the creative fires. What to do when stuck? How does one feed and nurture creativity year round to keep ideas, and thus income, flowing? I am sure anyone who is reading this article who is a creative has had moments when the Creativity. Just. Stops. It’s just that our methodologies sometimes fail us.
Design is this weird profession that for the most part follows a process such as writing the creative brief, beginning a word list, sketching ideas, getting on computer, taking many coffee breaks, looking at design annuals for kernels of ideas that can be woven in to our design such as what we see in Communication Arts and Print magazine, coupled with intuition, whose cumulative effect will ensure a winning design. But sometimes none of that works.
If one has a tendency towards procrastination the instances of good ideas not coming to fruition are increased. Good design really does take time. No, really it does.
What happens when the ideas dry up?