Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Things I Remember

As a designer, art director, project manager, social media guru, and coordinator of the website I find my processes constantly changing. The other day, I started thinking about all of the ways I initially learned how to design and all of the ways I used to keep my mind creative, and I realized how much I've really changed. 

Sometimes change is good.

Once upon a time I used  to print out pages and pages of imagery that I researched. I would use those images as inspiration, and sometimes tracing guidelines. Today I do the same thing, but I also use these images for industry competitive analysis. 

The more ideas, the closer the solution. 

Once upon a time I used to spend days upon days with pencil to paper on a large amount of ideas. Nowadays I do a 20/20 (20 concepts in 20 minutes) along with other creatives and we end up with 40–60+ ideas to consider. One of the biggest problems is that about a third of those ideas end up being unusable, but still, it's pencil to paper.

I still like to stick to tradition.

Once upon a time I was glued to a light table like it was my only friend in the world. Sketch after sketch, trace after trace. Sometimes it didn't get me anywhere, but then I would remember to turn the paper.  What do I do now? I copy and paste, copy and paste, but what I never do is, turn the 'paper.'  If you have a good idea, but it's not quite working the way you'd like it to, try again. Turn the paper. Rip the paper. Disassemble your sketch and put it all back together again. Sometimes a little rearranging will turn your good idea into a great one, and sometimes it will tell you once and for all that it just won't work.

I try not to get myself discouraged.  

Once upon a time I would complete my entire design on paper using pencil, ink, gouache even (imagine that!), before even getting on the computer. Sounds like a big waste of time doesn't it? I worked this way because I would often get on the computer and not really have an understanding of how I should build my design. Getting everything on paper helped me to map out the build. Today, I've taken a step backward. I don't get everything down on paper first, I haven't in a long time. There doesn't ever seem to be enough time to completely map out an idea, not even in just pencil. The world is in a rush, so computer it is. 

You will never be finished. You just have to know when to stop. 
Once upon a time I would try to refine and nit-pick at every. single. little. detail. I always wanted everything to be perfect. Then someone told me that there is no such thing as being finished, it's just knowing when to stop. Nowadays I still live by that same rule. 

So what does this all mean for me today? It means things are changing and they will always change. There are only two things I can do about change. I can either agree and embrace it, or I can disagree and fight like hell to be myself.

This post is also on Stokefire