The “C”

From 2001

Blast from the past - circa 2001

The other night, Singleton and I had a chat over MSN. As one of my best college buddies, the two of us began an insightful conversation over creative education. A few years after completing design school, we are still working in the creative industry. Like many other discussion sessions between he and I (we are equally opinionated), we came to one startling conclusion: we spent years learning about breaking the box on an execution level, but there’s a big gaping void on how to be creative despite restrictions.

Let me backtrack a bit – When I worked on the NASA STS-115 insignias way back, the design brief from NASA and CSA is not an easy one and the restrictions drove us on. My partners and I (three of us total) spent many nights arguing over ICQ trying to figure out how to work around rounds of red tape previously unidentified. We took them as challenges, and we rendered our brain juices into solutions. We were successful in the end – seeing our intellectual property etched into aerospace history was the reward, abeit small in magnitude compared to other engineering feats. What I learned in that experience is simple: don’t hate the red tape, just wrap your thinking around them.

Design school taught me how to solve problems creatively, and now I apply the learnings to writing online communication strategies. A big part of that is to see the box, shaped by cultral, corporate compliance, technologies, budgets, human behaviours, then balancing my utopic vision against these everyday realities. It frustrates me when I see rockstar design instructors walking into a teaching session, showing slides like “F**K THE RULES”… truth is, many of these same rockstars probably lick their clients’ insoles on a daily basis in their day jobs, or worst, never had a important enough role in the creative industry to see the bigger picture.


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