Where does the creative bridge begin and end? Where does the intervention “fold” happen? Once our gestation period ends, we enter this world a clean slate, full of curiosity, color and wonder… Our learning develops via observation, correlation and experimentation.
As children, we actually benefit from lack of wisdom and our search for the how is guided by praise and encouragement from our parents and mentors. We have no understanding of the impossible. In our innocence, all is bright, all is brilliant, all is colorful and all design ideas are capable of “erection“.
We learn by the kinesthetic interaction with our environments. We are wired to simplify the complex – to see extraordinary in the ordinary. We lift our arms wide open into the universe and twirl without concern of judgement… we fearlessly push limitations of balance for the thrill of the erection until… we are intervened.
Simplifying the Complex or Complicating the Simple?
So where is this “fold” over? At what point in learning do we begin to pull our arms to our core and truncate ourselves? At what threshold does color begin to diminish? When and why do we begin to hesitate? Why do we evolve from this innocent creative questioning our world and begin to question ourselves instead? Where is the balance between simplification and complication and what defines it? What comes first?
I had a beautiful art professor explain this idea to me once in terms of something we could all agree to be extremely ordinary – a blank sheet of paper.
By adding just one fold to this piece of ordinary paper it is made more complex. Seems simple enough right? Well, what if the complexity of the folds were replicated with design intent? What if imagination allowed for creation to happen via the ordinary? What would that look like, what would that feel like? Would you (or Suzie) believe it could become so complex it could be defined by unity/harmony, form, balance and movement?
Would you believe it could result in this?:
Hard to imagine that a simple piece of paper could re-instill curiosity, brilliance and wonder, but it can, obviously. This is our greatest professional design challenge and it should render our greatest accomplishments.
We are so fortunate. We are the crafters of spaces that yield emotive responses. Our job is to shock, to awe, to bring about the (hypothetical, of course) “Oh My!”.
As designers, we must dream in colors that don’t exist and then figure out how to create them. We must embrace the possibility of erections (innocent or not) and let the engineering consultants (and second wives) figure out how to balance them. We MUST push the envelope which ironically is a folded piece of paper…
We must remind ourselves, as Paul Rand so eloquently stated, “Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”
As a design professional, I challenge you to re-evoke this sense of wonder. Push limitations and like a child, open your arms widely into the universe and twirl…