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Too many cooks don't have to spoil the broth

blog / design / programming /

Aside from the moody painter in their studio, the hunch-backed musician in their bedroom, the dogged writer, or perhaps a few other exceptions, creative fields are generally collaborative endeavors. Music, art, design, writing. For the most part one will find themselves working as part of a team, or if flying solo they will be working with the client in a back and forth process with the aim of creating a perfect end product.

Whatever the dynamic, there will inevitably be a group of people, all with their own perceptions, ideas and visions striving to develop the product as best as they can. Naturally, differences in opinion will more than often arise, as the creative fields are highly subjective. Throw into the mix the fact that creative people are generally fiery and passionate about what they do and you can be left with a potentially volatile area of gray.

As a designer, copywriter, illustrator and a musician, I regularly find myself in these such instances and more and more, I am learning that although it is important to be passionate and to have convictions, it is just (if not more) important to realise that

whoever is on the opposing side of the conflict is probably just as convicted and passionate as you are. We each approach problems with our own take on the situation and can be precious and defensive of our solutions and what seems like a slam-dunk idea is hard to discard due to the brain sweat that went into spawning it and the relief that comes from realising a solution. In your head it's a no brainer, job done, let's roll it out. Then there's that moment when you share the idea and it drops like a lead bomb to a colleague or client. It's hard to leave personal feelings and attachments aside in these moments sometimes as it can feel like and attack on your capabilities as a creative and also an attack on the tiny little brain child that you just birthed. Whats more, the counter proposal sounds ludicrous in comparison and is sure to derail every effort on the project to date.

You shake it off, and you execute their idea, perhaps both ideas for comparison. You play 2 bars of music in 2 variations, you adjust a paragraph that you had thought was perfect, you change a colour palette that took an afternoon to hone. At first grudgingly but when the change is made and you step back, you realise that he piece of work has become something else entirely. Something that you never thought it could be. It can sometimes take a while for the adjustment or acceptance to come, but it's always refreshing, and always benefits our learning and understanding of the creative process.

As we all view things from our own unique perspectives, everybody involved has some individual input to add. A Designer may understand aesthetics, a programmer will understand the practicalities and possibilities of execution and the client will more than likely have a greater understanding of what it is they want to say and who their audience is. It's the mixture of all inputs that contributes to the most clear cut solution. Even if a part of the input is a programmer telling a designer that they don't like the colour palette they just rolled out.

As you strive to create great things, be passionate and confident but also by patient and open-minded and be willing to take turns that you may not have intended or even seen in the first place. If someone calls you on something, just relax, step back, cock your head to a different angle and look again. If you're still convinced your right, execute the suggestion anyway for comparison. If you still remained unswayed and if a deadline permits, maybe you should sleep on it. In the morning if you're still 100% behind your initial solution? Then maybe it's time to go fight your corner.

Noel Anderson

Noel Anderson

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