Day 21: Restraints
Five minutes to go.
I have five minutes to write today’s essay. This seemed appropriate as today’s topic is restraints and the beauty that can come from them.
When it comes to creative work, the amateur screams that he needs limitless opportunity. He will cry with bitterness about how there isn’t enough money or time or energy or content. The photos aren’t right, the methods aren’t right, the product isn’t right.
Shit, four minutes.
The professional knows the difference. She knows what limitations do, and seeks them out at all costs so they have something to challenge.
When there isn’t a wall into which we can bash our efforts, then we will forever run forward at a pace that is unsustainable, unaware of where we are heading.
3 minutes. What’s going on?!
Whether they are imposed by the client or made up by us alone, a restraint is the creative’s best friend. It provides a challenge, the fuel of the creative. It’s not just about motivation, it’s about employing unorthodox techniques and ideas to try and find the ends they seek in an effort to disallow the power of the constraints to effect the aesthetic of the end product.
Two minutes. Shit. Damn shit damn shit.
And with limitations comes an opportunity for mistakes. Beautiful, wonderful mistakes. Rough edges. There is something so incredibly beautiful about a rough edge. It’s a reminder that the product or the person is of nature. That they came from the earth as we did. Within the cracks and texture we find a place to settle in. When something is polished it doesn’t need us.
Wonderfully, this nature can be initially hidden. Dmitry Fadeyev left a great comment on an earlier piece I did. I hate plastic and thought it was important to write an essay about this. I’m not sure why. But from it came an amazing comment. When something is polished just right, and of the right materials, it will scratch. This is the evidence of it belonging to someone. This is a beautiful idea and somethign that designers can bring into their work, something which allows the audience in. The scratches can either be obvious and on the surface, or a gift that comes as the weight of time amasses upon the product. Of course these scratches don’t always have to be literal scratches, but impressions, imprints, echoes and shadows of the user and audiences involvement.
This is why we love to go offline and love the non-digital, because it’s easier to leave a mark on the non-digital. It allows us to say that we were here, that our data cannot be simply erased forever, that I write my name in a different font than the person before and after me.
Setting limitatio …