Driven to try and not knowing where to stop.


Too many ideas, not enough time….

One of the driving elements of being in a creative environment is the ability to see something, appreciate it, and extract meaning and value simultaneously.  Maybe it’s because creativity constructs all sorts of “other” thought pathways or we are just wired that way…could be a combination of the two. Appreciating something triggers a myriad of ideas requiring expression in some form, if only to clear the head and allow some sleep and stop the thought train from rolling through!

Ancient design files, sketches, notes of ideas, thumbnail doodles, napkin drawings, etc. going back about 40 years form the basis of our design provenance.  There have been many times when old files feed the new successes…which is why they stay well protected and always within reach. One look at any of these old records recalls the exact moment of thought, the context, and intent.  When looking for inspiration and trying to feed a thought flow, it’s the perfect way to create, distract, invent and develop new pathways to solve current problems.  New work becomes part of old provenance and the ideas build upon themselves. The detritus of all this work becomes an enduring record of ongoing development of design process and personal style. Some of it is nothing.  Some is gold.  We like to go mining for our treasures!

Idea files are common in any designers’ repertoire of ideas and tools… forming the basis of who we are and what we do.  Today, we also have Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Images (etc) which are a vast addition to this creative bank that can feed and enhance (also distort) the creative cycle. Add to that a myriad of 3D and other drawing software packages allowing expression of new design ideas far more quickly and accurately, and it’s not hard to see how the cycle of design creativity can become both enhanced and overwhelmed!

At some point however, we must stop.  Put an end to the process. As good as it feels to run down a conceptual track exploring all avenues of design expression and diversity; it can become overwhelming and self-defeating.  The detail of the creative process can overwhelm the purpose of the task.  Ideas flow, but maybe not fast enough.  There may be a loss of conceptual thread because the flow is too great; output too slow. It’s essential to learn how to stop, commit, and go with a design proposal that makes sense.  It’s a hard thing to do…stop the thought train, mark a point in time, make the proposal, and let it go! Knowing when the ideas have been explored enough, and having the confidence and savvy to judge output as good and ready for the next phase is a critical professional judgement.  There are so many avenues and possibilities we have to see what is possible, determine what is probable;  then isolate and define the most preferable of all the work in the process.

The beauty part is the thoughts only submerge…and re-emerge again at different times in different forms. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.  True creativity doesn’t really stop but regenerates in other ways and forms.  While not knowing where to stop in design is not uncommon (or over-explaining the process, etc.) to us it signals the beginning of a new cycle of endless possibilities and opportunities.

It’s a good thing!