Posts tagged ‘creativity’
I was pointed to a blog today, put out by the Smithsonian that has me a little intrigued and concerned. The Smithsonian has launched a new program called the Department of Innovation. The aim of this group is to “…track all things innovative, not just in science and technology, but also in how we live, how we learn, how we entertain ourselves.” The program basically is just there to point at the innovation of others. This concept is hardly original nor innovative. I am not going to go on a tangent about whether or not the government has any place to spark innvoation, the government has done so in the past through different agencies’ research and development, but the establishment of this group seems to be nothing more than an attention getter or diverter. Fostering innovation, rewarding it and educating for creativity are the keys to sparking innovation and creativity in multiple aspects of our lives, blogging about about is a nice thing to do, but it hardly warrants a government department.
One blatant thing when seeing this though is the dated and poorly thought logo. The logo (shown below) featues three gears in an interlocked layout, they cannot move due to their placement. To me using gears as a methaphor of “the gears of the mind” is quite dated. The fact that they would not function in theory or in practice already speaks poorly of this group as well. I am not going to fault the designer alone here though, I know how getting branding approved though government chains works, it is a long process where many eyes look over the proposed branding to ensure it fits the bill, isn’t innacurate or illegal and that it looks good (it is like approving branding in the private sector, only longer). It is a damn shame that a group working on promoting innovation would let this theoretical halt in process exist in their logo, and not have a touch of creativity and dare to say, ooh I don’t know… try something new? If this is the extent of today’s government to be innovative, I am very much afraid of what the future holds.
If the Smithsonian can rethink and redo their branding, and apply a little innovation themselves, the Department of Innovation may have a chance at being more than a once glanced link on Digg or Reddit all because of their horribly executed logo.
In a little side story, I have been working since I was in high school. It was only in the middle of my enlistment in the Marine Corps that I really found my passion in design, first for the web, then for graphics, print and multimedia. I have enjoyed every moment so far of doing what I love and making a living from it, and have come to the realization that this does have to be an unusual discovery or a hope that is not often achieved for everyone. Since then I have been trying to write my feelings on this. In the process I have also written on good information design and creativity. I decided to post this here to start some though provoking discussion and to give you a glimpse into some of my views.
I believe that being successful in design and the arts requires; being in touch with yourself, questioning everything in everyday life, remembering and practicing the basics and finding inspiration in anything. Success also comes with being able to inform and inspire at the same time.
- Dare to Dream and Think Critically – Dream big and think outside the box. In an age where having a degree is the norm and not the exception you have to set yourself apart. The ability to question everything, play the devil’s advocate in any situation or to otherwise think critically are seldom taught in the classroom, some even frown upon these abilities. These skills are at risk of diminishing, but with the explosion of the access to information they are more important than ever. Work on these skills and break the mold.
- Embrace your Talents – Society and education at large aim to teach in a modeled stale environment and enforce the ‘norm’, often at the expense of our talents and aspirations. Practice what you are good at, embrace what you do well whether it be dancing, sketching, or telling jokes. Embracing your talent and honing them will keep creativity and artistic capability in good shape for future generations.
- Seek Brilliance in the Basics – The basics of good design are often over looked or sacrificed in an attempt to make it original, or recognizable. One should always seek growth and push the limits of their knowledge and skill, but at the same time be sure to go over the fundamentals and re-learn them, lest they be lost in your work.
- Balance Form and Function – Good information design and good art communicates on different levels at once. There are too many cases of boring and bland pieces that inform, or visually appealing pieces that do nothing or have no meaning. Being able to mold aesthetics and relevant information into one coherent and beautiful piece is the key to making something truly memorable, informative and inspiring.
Be your own person, develop a creative and inquisitive mind and always set time aside to do what you do well and to relax. Enjoy life, seek inspiration, it is all around you and most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff, because in the end it is all small stuff!
This is also on my website: http://www.jrob.me/manifesto.html