Reflect on your own creative process. How do you strive to achieve a moment of performance or move forward in reach of a noble pursuit? Are your creative activities leading toward a moment of disruptive wonder for your audience, as well as for yourself?
This question has gotten me thinking quite hard. I think it’s particularly difficult to answer because my creative process has within it a number of ‘stages’ or ‘pervious moments’ where there is a good bit of cycling and recycling of ideas – of considering and discarding and re-considering ideas. Because that’s the case, it’s often difficult to specifically ‘nail down’ where these moments happen and communicate them to others. Maybe that, in itself, is worth communicating: that in my own design process, I try to stay in an “evaluation phase” throughout almost the entire process – until nearly the last minute, when I have to put my “pencils down” and begin feverishly producing final deliverable material. I think this has become so intuitive over the years that it often is hard to locate (that’s another reason). To that end, I think this map can be somewhat helpful:
The reason I represented this process using both an x-axis at the bottom (communicating the nebulous transition between ideation and execution, which is based on the passage of time but which is somewhat undefined from project to project) and a series of circles at the top was to communicate the “both-and” nature of the design process as it works out for me. I think having these represented as circles is analogous to what actually goes on in my process (which is why I chose circles, haha) – and that means that within each “realm” or “porous phase” of the project above, I am free to find those moments of “disruptive wonder” for myself, and then hopefully to be able to eventually communicate those to the client later on.
To that end, often in a project I will ‘stumble’ into some disruptive wonder in the form of an approach to the design problem that I didn’t initially conceive of but which just seems to fit perfectly. I sometimes can communicate this with the client and really I think this serves to communicate both that I am deeply engaged as a designer and that I am excited – which helps them to trust me and to be excited themselves. This is good.
I think regarding the question of whether or not I reach toward a noble pursuit in my design process and products – I think this is a quote from Malcolm McLaren’s talk, where he said,
“Authenticity is discovering something that is real, that can only be achieved through a struggle, that romanticizes the messy process and becomes a noble pursuit.” (roughly 8:40)
I find that if I am willing to fail (and am okay taking risks in the design process), I can find authenticity and can move towards noble pursuits as it’s defined in this context. In many ways, I am trying my best to use my graduate studies as a kind of grand ‘case study’ in this – trying things I would normally shy away from, and pushing the limits of what I know I can do so as to arrive at these moments of learning, failure (which is sometimes expressed in grades or in a project that doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to), and authenticity.