“Not having a specific purpose or goal in mind creatively is like paddling in the middle of an ocean with no land in sight. Where do you start? Who is going to give you approval? What is the product you’re trying to sell? And wouldn’t it have been easier to have just stayed on the boat?”
— Anna of Door Sixteen
The hardest projects for me to wrap my brain around as a graphic designer are the ones where there are no rules; the ones for which “the powers that be” have given me “creative freedom.” These projects are usually things like thank you cards and desktop wallpapers; things that could depict anything. Projects like these seem like they should be the easiest ones; just come up with something cool and slap it on there. But, then my designer brain thinks, “Yeah, sure, but what does this super cool design mean? Nothing? Right. So, go back to the drawing board.” I have a designer friend that would describe this strange inner drama something like this: “Designers are problem solvers and, if there is no problem to be solved, it’s hard for us to know what to do.”
I had this mental battle with myself last week as I was designing for a client. It was something that could literally be anything; I had total “creative freedom.” Therefore, as usual, I was at a loss for what to do. While I’d known about the assignment for over a month, I waited until literally the last day to come up with something. …not my best decision, but it ended up turning out alright. Ironically, I ended up making it mean something. I guess my designer brain just can’t shut off sometimes.
Oddly enough, I was introduced to the blog post from which the quote above was taken just as I hit my “I’m never going to think of anything” moment. The post was written by Anna over at Door Sixteen. You should go read it :). …Anyway, It’s always nice to know that there’s someone else out there going through the same thing. And the post serves as a nice reminder that sometimes you just have to create something and not worry about the consequences. Best case scenario; you end up liking what you created …and perhaps someone else will too.