It’s easy to say to creatives to “think outside of the box,” or, look at things from a different perspective, but exactly how, as a creative, does one do that successfully and with a purpose?
Tobias Wacker, group Executive Creative Director at hasan & partners, recently was published discussing how corporate creativity is at a crisis point. He states “There is no value in being different just for the sake of being different, but unless you are leading the way with your brand, you need to come up with something better and different – otherwise the economy of scale will wipe you out before you are learning about the next big thing.” Let’s face it, creativity helps a brand stand out and express how it is unique by being, well, unique. But, there needs to be meaning behind that difference.
The greatest challenge for me, and I imagine many creatives, is that when it comes to the pressure of deadlines and bottom lines, the worker bee in me wants to get it done, check that task off that list and call up the next person in line. However, by not taking the time required to explore the “outside of the box,” and all of the boxes around it, we lose sight of the very thing we were hired to do: bring a creative solution to a unique problem.
Time is always the enemy. We want to be profitable and successful. We do not want to be inefficient. We do not want to ignore the five other projects awaiting our attention. This pressure sometimes means we get sucked into trends. If everyone else likes pastel pink and army green paired with bold, geometric shapes and a slab serif, maybe this auto mechanic would like that too! The sad thing is, you could probably get the client to agree with your choices because in your heart, you might convince yourself that having an on-trend look means you are successful at having your finger on the pulse of what’s “out there.” However, with this ease of hegemony, we end up just adding to the white noise of predictable advertising.
To keep this brief, my point is this: force yourself to take the time. Remind yourself of why you enjoy this field to begin with. Remember why your client hired you in the first place. Take a walk before sitting down to work. When you do sit down, don’t hop on the computer, hop on your nearest pencil and whip open that dusty sketch book. Watch an inspiring TED talk or a tutorial on a new feature of an updated design application. Give creativity the space it needs to breathe, because it takes a lot of energy and willpower to climb outside of that box.