As a young teenager I would often find myself completely immersed in copying the content from encyclopaedia books into a sketchbook. What seemed like a pointless activity to my parents, I found making my own layouts so satisfying that hours would go by, but I’d be so engaged I wouldn’t even notice. Plus, it kept me quiet for days so they never questioned it.
I feel really quite privileged to work as a Graphic Designer now, doing what I truly enjoy and being paid to pursue it. However, working in a creative role comes with its own challenges; the biggest one being the expectation to be creative all the time. Suddenly, I can’t just open up my laptop at 12am when a moment of creativity sparks within me. It’s now become my daily routine, which bizarrely can often cause a decline in my imagination.
This is because creativity is a mindset, one you have to train like a muscle. Once practiced, it can make a huge impact on your working life, whether you’re a doctor, lawyer or leader. Do you ever wonder why kids are such great innovators? After all, we wouldn’t have trampolines or earmuffs without them. In their mind, everything is feasible. Their ideas don’t get crushed by rules and regulations and there is no limit to their imagination. We understandably get discouraged from certain ideas as we get older, but it’s important to remember that the kid within you can create a much brighter and more powerful world.
Let’s look at Steve Jobs – the perfect example of unleashed creativity. During his time at Apple, Jobs created a team of researchers purely to study the experience of opening a box. He didn’t accept packaging as it already was and instead created an emotional experience for Apple users. What may have seemed unreasonable at the time is now frequently studied at Apple, which may be the reason why we never throw away our iPhone boxes…
So, between your home life, busy work schedule and one million other things, how can you unchain yourself from the things that block your creativity? The answer is quite simple – just let your mind wander. Often, we feel guilty for taking time out, and God forbid we don’t look busy at our work desks! But there is a reason why our best ideas come to us in the shower. When we engage in activities that put the world around us on pause, we allow our minds to travel to a place of great imagination. This could include scrapbooking, puzzles, knitting – the list goes on. Although my job is my hobby, there is a level of pressure that comes with it. I don’t always have time to make mistakes, and so I had to learn to allow myself to work on side projects which can give my mind the space to wander, the same way recreating an encyclopaedia did when I was younger.
It’s important that modern organisations recognise the need for this wandering. The right leadership and team work can create very powerful change. Last year, when working on version 3 of Spotlight Profile, I felt I was getting nowhere. I embraced this struggle and took the day to go to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. What would normally make me feel guilty for not technically ‘working’ allowed me to get fresh perspective and explore new ideas. Nurturing this creative culture and building trust with employees to allow them to wonder can immensely improve individual and team performance.
Something that sparked this revelation for me was the Adobe Photoshop advert that’s been popping up on all my social media channels during lockdown. ‘Fantastic Voyage’ explores possibilities of the mind and we know it’s never been more important to reimagine our world. So, unleash the kid inside you and have the courage to explore. This ad has been a blessing on my timeline with its amazing concept, brilliant graphics and of course The Rolling Stones, but check it out for yourself below, you won’t be disappointed.
This blog post was written by our graphic designer, Pati on 31st March 2021.