Experience, Process, and Creativity

I love when I’m looking for one thing, and happen on something quite different – something totally unexpected – and that something turns out to be even better than what I was originally looking for.

I had found a piece talking about taste and the design process (it’s here, and I’ll revisit it at some point in time as it’s quite good). So I continue going off tangent to find Ira Glass’ original quote on “The Gap.” I recognized immediately what he was referring to and just how valuable experience is in any process, but especially the design process.

(let’s pause for a moment and visit this statement. Because I LOVE Zen Pencils, we’ll use their illustration of Glass’ quote. Come on back when you’ve read it)

I can tell you with absolute authority that in each of the various career paths that I’ve had over the years that I learned more on the first week of the job than I did in months of classwork about it.  And that after months of work doing the same thing over and over I became a pro.  And it’s not just about learning the mechanics of the physical work. It’s about wiring your brain to think effectively about how you are producing.  When I began doing composite work or some extraordinary retouching/recreation, I initially had to think a lot about how to go about it. And a lot of what I tried didn’t work because I hadn’t learned to think dimensionally. (That’s another topic for another time). But later it became second nature.  When I began creating ads and promotional pieces, it was hard at first and not always with the best result. But after many, many pieces that changed. It was if I could see then entire finished piece in my head. And if the client didn’t like it, no problem. Another piece appeared.

The most liberating thing about good design is that there is no ONE right answer to the question of “how should I create this?”  There are MANY right answers. Yes, there are a lot of wrong answers too. The trick is learning to distinguish between the two.