There is often a nagging question among those in the art and design world about what it truly means to be creative. We are expected to come up with new and unique solutions to problems and some inevitably wonder how they can define themselves around this act.
Everyone wants to be distinguished from the crowd. The obvious solution is to turn to buzzwords. One constantly finds personal sites with bios stating, ‘I’m a creative.’ Others go so far as to say “I’m an important thinker. I’m a creator, innovator, artist, idea.” Yet is it not true that even the most seemingly dull, boring person is creative? Without effort, we all conjure up countless ideas. The question is whether we allow ourselves to explore and express them. Most certainly we are creative in the literal sense: we build things. And we are also not Amazon warehouse workers, utter cogs in a machine. Yet is there anything truly special about us?
I have come to the conclusion that we designers are in fact not special, creative people. That in fact there is something pretentious about describing one’s self as such, as so many are accustomed to doing. Instead, I contend that being creative is both a negative and positive attribute. It is on one hand the suppression of laziness and on the other an assertion of the worth of particular thoughts and ideas. Creativity thus is enacted by bringing these ideas into concrete form, otherwise known as reification. In essence, to be creative is to be human.
Ultimately, if everything is entrepreneurship, creativity or design, then nothing is. The way to distinguish ourselves is not to hide behind buzzwords. It is instead to produce great work.