Designer / Programmer – finding creativity has more similarities than you think

It’s your fault! No it’s yours as your haircut is worst! Well you’ve got a mop for a head!

Who fault is it? Is it the clients fault? Your fault?  Is it the designers fault because he is more pre-occupied with his/her grundge look, designer t-shirt and semi long hair flicked to the side or styled/cut in some way? Maybe it is the programmers fault who wants to dress like the designer but EPIC FAILS, has a speech impediment, hates crowds and plays on his game station EVERY day, gets boosting services, EVERY weekend?

That may be an extreme fair enough but you get the point…

In my experience it’s not about apportioning blame, it should be about how to overcome the issue and in this case we are talking about having a mind block! Some  say that they were told to think outside of the box, but who’s box are they thinking out of? A fascinating post written by Preston D Lee talks about that subject.

Yes the infamous mind block, reasons as to why we creatives – mainly designers and some coders alike – may spend countless hours drawing on whiteboards for walls, go out to galleries and theorize over tech art, dress down everyday when everyone else dresses up.  However there will come a time I guarantee it when just this time round, you are running on empty, no ideas are readily forthcoming.

Well despite the semantic thought process being quite different between design and code, both still follow a structure.  OK so you could not mind map one over the other and draw recognizable dots that form anything (remember those clear bits of plastic with formulas written on them with a thick blue ink pen from the 80’s school days the teacher/tutor would place on top of the ol’ school projectors? – “ah good” times I hear some say) that makes any sense but we still have to draw our inspiration from the same fountain of clear headed thinking that brings forth logic or creativity. will give you pabulum for reflection.

So here are a few tips that I’ve tried over the years that has helped get the juices going whether I want to clear my head for another “code burn run” or get creative;

  1. Don’t be too serious a person – Give yourself permission to be a fool for a moment and see things for what they really are.
  2. That’s not my job, I don’t do that – The oxymoron to this is something Carl Ally wrote about below.  Instead try to think of yourself as an explorer, everything is a fun journey of discovery. You’ll be surprised how innovative you can be.

The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things—ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later, or six months, or six years. But he has faith that it will happen.

  1. Avoid ambiguity – We all do it to some degree about most situations we face, so it’s second nature when applying it to creativity or logic (OK it’s needed in logic but we are not talking about the end result of your code where the exists arguments and if statements to bullet proof it or cover caveats). Get comfortable in exploring uncertainty.
  2. Is being wrong so bad? – Thomas Edison was wrong 1,800 times before getting the light bulb right. Edison’s greatest strength was that he was not afraid to be wrong. Enough said.
  3. I’m not creative – What?! Have you lost your mind (Now replay this sentence with Samuel L Jackson saying that to you) You are basically telling the world that you are not human.

Finally, an idea!

These are just a few of the many more things that I do to keep my mind fresh. When you strip away all the confetti you may find that whether you are a programmer or designer, your thought process is ignited from the same place.  Embrace that, as there is no such thing as ‘The Divide’ (programmers do use MacBook’s as well) between people at it’s core base.

Bottom line; sitting in front of your screen until something happens is probably the least productive way to get creative if you are well and truly stumped, but that is my subjective opinion.

So who’s fault is it?  You may have come to a different conclusion to me.

I hope those tips are useful.  What things do you do to find your creative spark?  Have you ever been well and truly stumped and done something radical to clear your mind?

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