Thursday, May 19, 2011

How To Understand Graphic Designers/Artists & Other Creative People

Just another day. A fellow designer chatted and ranted again about her client. Not that I'm bored with her stories; negative emotions are as strong a fuel to the brain as a good laugh. 

But talking, chatting and listening (yeah, I just realized that one can actually talk and chat without listening to the other person) with friends from the creative profession made me wonder: why is it so hard for other people to get our point?

Here are some of the common rants on my mind:

1. Yea, so maybe ideas do grow on trees.

But have you ever seen a tree grow overnight, much less with a snap of a finger? I get easily annoyed by people who suddenly pops up into your life, asks for a good design concept - then complains after one hour, all he gets are pencil sketches.

While it is true that in our world today almost everything is instant, have you ever taken a moment to stop and wonder how it all came to be? Like, how many months and years did it take for the idea of instant coffee to be conceptualized, actualized and marketed? Or how long did it take to build a fast-food joint? Everything "instant" that we enjoy today were merely products of a long, stressful, creative process... and those ideas aren't instant either. If it was, then Jesus wouldn't have performed a miracle at the wedding in Cana; they could have used instant coffee or soda dispensers instead.

2. Mind-reading is not part of the gift package God gave us.
Here's what gets to my nerves the most: most people just don't get it! Just because You can imagine it doesn't mean we can picture it. Yeah, we may seem to attempt employing basic psychological skills along with pseudo-advanced data analysis while fiddling around our heads with our virtual vault of imaginary clip arts and font styles...

But NO. We are normal human beings, not the X-men or whoever superhero you can imagine saving you from aesthetic suicide.

But like normal human beings, we have:
  • a good pair of ears to listen to your concept and patiently identify the important points sans the long, unnecessary, superfluous introduction which may or may not include a complete history of the universe;
  • a good pair of eyes to tell you if it won't look as great as you think it is; and
  • a good set of teeth to chew you out when you stubbornly insist (though sometimes our peace-loving, pacifistic side influences us to grit our teeth instead, and choose the path of sacrifice - with our sanity at the altar)
When all else fails, communicate using stick figure drawings. We all love stick figure drawings.

3. Intentional distraction is an essential part of the creative process.
Machines overheat and gets worn down. Living cells age and die. And creative minds... just stop being creative. People call it writer's block, or artist's block or just plain laziness. It's a common curse we share - with great [brain] power comes great lethargy. In order to move an immobile object, one must exert an amount of force greater than the mass in order for it to move - the same law applies to the creatives, which I hereby refer to as the Inertia of Creativeness.

Here are my postulates:
a) The amount of fun prior and during the execution of a design added with the mood* level, divided by the number of hours spent working on it, and multiplied by positive reinforcement (a.k.a. moral support, encouragement, benefits, free food) is inversely proportional to the amount of creativeness spent**.

*Note: Moods can be positive or negative. Integers apply in the calculation.
**Creativeness can never be lost; just mismanaged, misguided, misinterpreted, or simply missed.

b) A mind in motion needs little or no external motivations in order to experience and acknowledge fun. A creative mind often takes pleasure in the creative process itself. However, there are certain factors that causes friction in the process, thereby affecting the velocity of the creative mind. Such factors are:
  • irritation - may be caused by superiors or fellow team members who fail to communicate properly their expectations
  • undue pressure - sudden deadlines or multiple tasks are the common culprits
c) A mind at rest is different from a mind at sleep. In fact, it would be more appropriate to call it a mind in limbo. But for context's (and consistency's) sake, let's stick with 'at rest'. Thus settled, in order to set a mind at rest into motion once again, one must be able to adequately  apply enough force or pressure, which can be both external and internal:
  • External force/pressure include reading, watching movies, doing hobbies, playing games, going hiking, bonding with pets, doing photography, etc. These are stuff that allows the brain to subconsciously work, feeding on the slow but steady amount of inspiration they can derive from the varied actions and experiences they can enjoy.
  • Internal force/pressure is a more difficult way - as it involves an introspective struggle within one's own mind (yes, every creative mind has at least one alter ego to keep himself/herself sane. Yes, SANE.) This process is essentially important when embarking on a long term project, or revisiting one that has been abandoned.
4. Our eccentricities are but a paradox caused by the frustration of being misunderstood by people.
Creative people are often trapped between the overabundance of thoughts to communicate, and the inadequacies of mortal/human communication. While many are blessed with friends who simply resigned to their fate and accepted their creative friends with open minds, others are not as... fortunate.

And so we vent out through fashion, poems, doodles, cooking, blogs, Facebook posts, tweets, photoshop pranks, or best-selling novels. Milder (and lazier) expressions are evident with Youtube visits/viewings, excessive manga reading, obsessive koreanovela watching, and the likes.

And yeah, NyanCat still rocks. Even after watching it countless times.

* * *

5. [will add idea later here]

And lastly... Yes, procrastination is sometimes a good source of serendipity.


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