Creating Moments for Discovery

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Found this gem on the design process written by dev and designer Daniel Zarick:

What if nothing is ever created, only discovered? Could it be true that creativity isn’t actually an ability a person possesses, but instead a description of the process we undergo to discover what already exists and has yet to be exposed to the world? The same way that a archaeologist discovers artifacts, a musician or artist or designer discovers their creation and then displays it to the world. […]

My goal going forward is to get better at creating these moments for discovery. That means working consistently (most days) for at least a few hours, forcing real ideas onto paper in some form. I’m allowing myself to take detours and to be surprised by unexpected ideas or solutions. I’m also trying to be more comfortable with not forcing a solution. This means having constraints for time and rules for what I can use and do, but also allowing myself to bend the rules when necessary.

And most importantly, I’m going to try to start over more often. If I accept that discovering ideas is like digging them out of the world like an archaeologist, then that means I might have started to dig a hole in the wrong spot. Once I allow (or even force) myself to start over from the surface, I might come across new directions that the original path wouldn’t allow. And that makes me pretty excited.

The whole “creativity” part of the design process is admittedly still the most challenging for me because my brain is eager to land at a particular solution especially when there’s the pressure of a deadline.

My director gave me two of the best pieces of advice when it comes to designing: “Allow yourself to play” and “You won’t know what’s a good one until you go through all the bad ones.”

It’s hard to imagine this sometimes, but that’s really the essence of the work—you can’t judge and overthink each thing you come up with. Instead, you have let it flow so you uncover a lot of different ideas until you arrive, or better yet, discover a solution that fits. It won’t be the immediate answer or even the “right” one, but at least your confidence grows with each version. All of a sudden you’re more immersed in the possibilities and have started to evaluate and form an opinion on a direction that might be right.

And that’s all design is. Getting closer and closer until you discover the one that makes the most sense with your current set of problems, resources, and constraints.


 Photos: julienrath

 
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