Creative Futures – Creativity & Creating a Personal Micro Culture

Creativity, or more accurately, how someone comes to be creative, is something I have heard being talked about by many people, whether they be merely acquaintances or people close to me. Most commonly, I tend to hear that creativity is a skill that you’re born with. This, obviously, cannot be further from the truth. Creativity is something which is honed from repeated creativity and repeated practice.

This is, in a sense, creating a “Personal Micro Culture”. A culture of working constantly on creating, but also developing your own design process, learning what works and what doesn’t, being observant of the world around you, constant practice, creating or working from pre-created briefs/mini-briefs/challenges, reading lots of different types of material both related to your subject area and not related. These things, and more, will all contribute to developing your personal micro culture as a creative.

When asked how you might enable yourself to be more creative, a lot of people may think that the use of technology is equally as important. One thing that we have learned over the course of this past year certainly is that there is no button labelled “Make Something For Me” on any software. Whilst technology is a powerful tool in a creative’s arsenal, it is important to understand that it is not a replacement for traditional skills.

Here are a few quotes from Milton Glaser’s “Art is Work”, which covers this exact topic.

“The computer and the devaluation of drawing skills have undoubtedly changed things. We are living in a “collage” world. The extraordinary availablity of historical and contemporary imagery means designers can find and assemble anything on screen.

You can take images from any moment in history, assemble them electronically, distort them, shift them, stretch them, colour them, and make them your own to some degree.

But you’re not starting with material that you have invented.”

And also;

“Certain skills have become irreparably lost. People have lost the motivation to draw because drawing seems unrelated to their vocational life. Drawing is the path to observation and attentiveness, Technology makes old standards irrelevant and creates its own aesthetic.”

– Milton Glaser, “Art is Work”

On, Glaser also said the following;

“The computer is dangerous because it shapes your capacity to understand what’s possible. The computer is like an apparently submissive servant that turns out to be a subversive that ultimately gains control of your mind. The computer is such a powerful instrument that it defines, after a while, what is possible for you. And what is possible is within the computer’s capacity. And while it seems in the beginning like this incredibly gifted and talented servant actually has a very limited intelligence — the brain is so much vaster than the computer. But, the computer is very insistent about what it’s good at, and before you know it — it’s like being with somebody who has bad habits, you sort of fall into the bad habits — and it begins to dominate the way you think about what is possible. … [Counter this] by doing things that are uncomfortable for it to do.”

– Milton Glaser,

Another interesting quote which stands out is from Saul Bass when asked if he had any advice for aspiring designers, which can be found in the below video;

As you can see, whilst technology is an important tool, it is important to understand that in order to develop your own creativity and own personal micro culture, you need to make use of traditional tools and, in some cases, remove yourself from the technology!

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