Design is the key component of anything that surrounds us in life. It's the core visual definition of an object. Design is also how an object works. Ultimately design is a designer's most pure form of expression of emotions, knowledge, experiences and visual interpretation. It all starts with a designer's intention to put together a story of visual and functional interactions and tangible and intangible elements of an object. These characteristics and the overall nature of design lead to a very personal and subjective relationship between the designer and the user. Creativity is one of the most important tools in the process of consuming, creating and designing. In this article, we will share the mindset and creative process of some of the most iconic designers and artists of modern art like Picasso and Ludovico and walk you through some parts of the creative design process to encourage you to see like a designer. While certainly creativity is a state of mind and anyone can be and is creative, an artist processes, thinks and feels differently. This difference flourishes some of the most beautiful art and designs in this world so it's worth your while to study the mind of a creative person and their work process. Whether you're a designer or working with a designer on your project or in your team, learning about a designer's mindset and restless pursuit of creativity can benefit you in understanding and connecting with them and inspire you to apply their work process in your own creative process. Throughout this article we tend to bring light to some of the most beautiful imperfections and challenges of a mind of a creator in hopes to educate on technical and intellectual process of creativity and bring awareness to some of the emotions an artist has to overcome like self doubt and fear, which we all feel and relate to.
The Intention, The Clutter
From big iconic artists like Picasso to any truly gifted artist and individual, all designers shape their own unique process, inspiration and form of communication. We must understand this unique approach and try not to generalize designers as just "creative people". To truly study the mind of a Creative, we first try to understand the initial contact with surroundings and learn how a designer sees the world.
Design is the elimination of the unnecessary. There is a lot of information and energy that constantly comes in contact with us, some we can see, some we see when we are looking, some we see when others show us and some we may never quite get an impression of or understand. We constantly consume, we collect and we process, whether consciously or subconsciously.
A designer has an extremely high level of focus and attention to surroundings and to self and how these two interact and the extreme curiosity to study and examine the repeating patterns and new vibrations and information in this world. The mind constantly processes information as we learned last week. The art of being an artist is to allow being exposed to everything and filter out the unnecessary and the clutter. It's like walking through a big jungle for the first time and allowing to explore and enjoy the nature and the beauty of the tall trees and the unknown environment but also to navigate through the jungle we must process the clutter and have a vision and a destination in mind. The curiosity teaches us where to look and the idea teaches us what to see. An artist consumes all the information, collects what corresponds to his vision and his subject of interest and puts together all these pieces of information in the most beautiful and harmonious form. Ultimately, the designer only picks what he sees fit and chooses to add or subtract a piece of information received from surroundings, clients, school, previous experiences or anything else. The final design is the essence of his expression for what he likes to show for all the information received, collected and processed. More than balancing the intake and cluttering out the unnecessary, this process requires being present and a lot of practice, listening and awareness.
"some things have their own hidden genesis. And just through this work of listening and analysis ... It's like when you walk into a room filled with clutter and try to understand if there will be that one priceless piece that I need. In order to find the right one, you need to clean up and throw things away. But always be careful cause you might throw away something important." Einaudi Ludovico
A designer is never satisfied. We all have heard that in one way or another. While the visual focus of a designer is broad and extremely artistic, the process of collecting and creating is complex, unique and subjective. The artist has a goal or an idea that he wants to explore. It's like walking to a store and you know exactly what you want. Sometimes you may not even pay attention to anything else and just grab what you want and be on your way out . A designer performs differently. An artist is always evolving and learning more about themselves and their surroundings by the art of always looking and absorbing while keeping their vision. They can look at the same object for the 20th time and find something new about it that they didn't see before. A designer allows a controlled influence, whether aligned with their current vision or not, and uses the new information and builds new layers of interest. They constantly pick and choose the information they receive, accept and decline, appreciate and throw things away and sometimes even start all over. In a designer's mind, a design is never complete. I myself stop working on something when I have nothing else to give to it and nothing else to take from it. I move on from the design but the restlessness and dissatisfaction feeling always stays with me.
This process is extremely miserable but in my experience extremely important. The battle and tension that goes on between the visual interest and new information and the idea, the progress and focus can constantly take a toll on the creative person. The burden of allowing and constantly processing new exposures and the restlessness of the mind and the heart is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to deal with as a designer. Some designs take months and even years before the artist can move on from his creation. That's why it's hard for a designer to stick to a deadline. Sometimes that extra time can make all the difference and a designer is very well aware of that. The strong curiosity to understand is only the first step in the creative process and a lot comes with this baggage of curiosity and creativity. Once understood, the frustration from the way things are creates a strong urge to fix, redo, renew and rebuild. And the new information constantly adds layers and depth to the vision. This restlessness and discomfort is a strong force and source of energy for a designer.
To See Like An Artist
"Others have seen what it is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not." Picasso
Some might associate artists and designers with pure beauty, perfection and confidence. We see their final work of art, their final design and the beauty and and joy it brings us and it's easy to think that the artist pursued beauty from the start and that the raw components of the piece were also beautiful and perfect. while we can all agree that the final design is beautiful, the process itself, the artist and even the final design is all flawed. To take something perfect and turn it into another thing that is perfect is rarely any designer's goal or vision. An artist doesn't idealize, doesn't put a mask on or discriminate one emotion over another. An artist sees his job as responding to the problems of the current time and unfolding the truth of his artistic vision.
You might read this article and think that we are trying to oversimplify the artist's mind and creative process. We must remind you that the process is truly simple and that is to allow one to truly see. But an artist needs to go through a lot to get to this level of simplicity. An artist needs to battle a lot of emotions constantly and opinions not only from outside but from his own mind and ego and he needs to understand and learn how to see and how to find. As Leonardo da Vinci says "The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinion." Both seeing and finding require an extensive awareness of self, mind and emotions.
A designer feels a lot of emotions, sometimes all at once. Fear is one of the emotions an artist has to battle with, just like any one of us. The difference between an artist and the rest is what he finds and how he responds. The difference is freedom from self. Let's see together how that can happen:
We might know that fear can control our mind, our heart and as the result our actions. Fear shapes the places we go to, how we connect with our surroundings and with other people, how we think and respond. Fear then shapes what we see and how we see. The fear of failure is one of the biggest obstacles for almost any one of us and it can sometimes be hidden in our subconscious beliefs. A lot of our fear comes from our expectations and attachment of our ego to the end result. Our search for validation is one of the strongest basic human needs. We always have to feel validated and ego always has to be rewarded. Sometimes it's part of the natural physics theories like Newton's law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Arguably we were all raised with the action-reaction mindset and not just that of the physics and the energies in this world but for what we as humans do every day. If we study well and take a test we will get an A. If we work 8 hours, they will give us xx amount of money (they better right). If we take one step the other foot follows and takes the second step. If we love someone they should love us back. A reaction is always expected and the ego always wants to win.
There is no doubt that anything we do in this world creates a vibration and there is really no use in arguing with that. What I can try to offer here is to think differently about the action and the reaction. The fear of outcome is like a substance we all become addicted to and we lose our independence to our own ego. Fear destroys freedom. An artist has learned to accept the fear but move on from the expectations and outcomes because once he gives in to fear, he's no longer creating but he is responding and reacting. Throughout the history, men and women of all generations and nationalities had to fight for the right to freedom, in one shape or another. The freedom to speech, the freedom to vote, to our basic human needs and civil rights. We went through years of wars to establish, win and practice some of these rights. But the biggest battle of them all is the one each person has with their ego and their self doubt. The true freedom is when you allow yourself to be, allow yourself to explore, to feel and most importantly you allow yourself to see and take actions. Freedom from the ego is to allow judgments of others with no fear of their opinions or satisfaction. That's why an artist never tries to please but he simply creates and moves on- unattached to the reaction and review of the beholder. An artist just does what he does and it's the job of the beholder to learn to see with an open mind and an open heart. If you truly learn to be free from your ego, then you have learned to see like a designer. It all starts with seeing.
“The cosmic humor is that if you desire to move mountains and you continue to purify yourself, ultimately you will arrive at the place where you are able to move mountains. But in order to arrive at this position of power you will have had to give up being he-who-wanted-to-move-mountains so that you can be he-who-put-the-mountain-there-in-the-first-place. The humor is that finally when you have the power to move the mountain, you are the person who placed it there--so there the mountain stays.” Ram Dass- Be Here Now
article by bluebeige designs- all rights reserved
Curated by Creative Director- Aidin Belganeh