I’m sure we’ve all heard this adage before. And I’m sure we’ve all nodded our heads in unison and vowed to uphold this trite maxim multiple times (and then failed to do so in the end). But recently, I’ve begun to realize—really realize—the importance of ‘less’ in my creative life.
Illustration by Carolyn Sewell
The pursuit of ‘less’ is not just a matter of being more productive; it’s also about honing one’s creative ability and reducing the urge to imitate another designer’s work.
Aaron Heth, a recent design school graduate, says about taking inspiration from the internet:
“To a degree, these things help with our creative juices, but they mostly have the bad habit of distracting us. Seeing too much can simply overload you and lead you in to making decisions that aren’t right for a particular brief.”
Picasso’s words are also relevant here:
“Good artists copy; great artists steal.”
Essentially he’s indicating that most artists have a tendency to recycle a previous artists’ work which, in the end, produce cookie-cutter results. But a great artist will take much of the same elements to a whole new level and make it his own. I believe it’s often the case with designers also.
As Frank Chimero points out in his semi-sort of comic, we need to “kill [our] timid notion of creativity” and make “allogical [illogical?] connections”.
THE GOAL: Stop using boring clichés! Be creative! Don’t be a good designer, be a great designer!
Since it’s impossible to produce original bodies of work when you spend most of your hours drooling over other people’s masterpieces, in order to achieve my goal, I need to refrain from visiting so many ‘inspiration’ sites/galleries/blogs and reduce other forms of distraction.
So far, I’ve diminished my Twitter following to 45, my Tumblr follow list from over 100 down to 80, and my Google Reader subscriptions from almost 300 down to 150 (I’m working on it).
In addition, I think I’m going to take more showers.