Have you ever heard a friend, a family member, or even perhaps a stranger wishing out loud that they were more creative? Or maybe you’ve heard some of these excuses: ‘but I’m not creative like you’ or ‘I’m terrible at drawing’ or ‘I don’t have the time to play a musical instrument?’ Yet, these are the very people who will often look on at a piece of art or watch a musical performance with a mixture of awe, jealousy and yearning?
If you grew up in an academic environment, surrounded by people who attended public schools and colleges, then it’s likely that your view on what being creative means falls into the narrow fields of those who can paint and those who can play an instrument. It’s also likely that you were guided away from creative pursuits unless they somehow benefitted you academically. I know this because I went through the exact same schooling system several years ago. I’m not sure if much has really changed since then with public schools and colleges, and I don’t know enough about state schools (also known as public schools outside of the UK) or state colleges to comment.
What I do know is that there appears to be a common misconception that it is almost impossible to get a job in the creative industry or make your way in the world as an artist, and if you’re only thinking of traditional painters and musicians then you’re probably right to be nervous about your chances of success. However, it is not impossible to have a successful career in a creative industry, in fact it is more than possible, and this is where the public schools and colleges fail in my opinion. Being creative isn’t just reserved for traditional painters and musicians; creativity is vital and extends outwards into all subjects and areas of life, including medicine and science.
If you take a moment to stop on a busy high street and look around, what do you see? People and shops probably spring to mind first, but look closer at the shops, shopping bags and windows. Names will start to jump out at you, Starbucks, New Look, Topshop, H&M, Adidas, Selfridges, etc, etc. Let me guide your eyes to all the clever logos from Starbucks’ green siren to Adidas’ three stripes. Look a little closer at the shop windows, bus shelters, and any free, smooth, space and you’ll see hundreds of adverts with products, models and slogans. And if you are fortunate enough to be in London, just take a look at The Shard, 30 St Mary Axe and other iconic buildings. Do you know who is responsible for designing all these buildings, logos, names, adverts and slogans? Do you know how many weeks and months it can take to draw up designs, choose the right fonts, colours, hire models, fashion designers, make-up artists, take photos and then put it all together using a creative computer program? And this is just the high street, think about all the adverts, videos, jingles, etc. that appear on the T.V. and internet.
Do you know what this means for the creative industry? Hundreds and thousands of jobs for creative people.
‘But’ you say ‘designing a logo and slogan is easy, anyone can do that’. Actually, it’s not as easy as it may appear. Humans are notoriously selective and picky, we like things to appear in certain ways and at certain times and if they don’t, you can bet we will notice it straight away. Just think about all the drama surrounding the Starbucks’ seasonal coffee cups. Certain colours are more pleasing to the eye and may evoke certain emotions and feelings. Humans also love symmetry, down to the sound of words and how they are placed, to the symmetry of your partner’s face. It may seem strange but its psychology and scientists have done extensive studies into what we humans generally like and dislike. It’s so important in the business world that you can even take university courses in marketing and psychology.
‘But what can I do that’s creative?’ you ask. Well, you could be a photographer, fashion designer, website designer, architect, make-up artist, video designer, advert designer, slogan creator, font creator, doll designer, writer, poet, composer, song writer, clock maker, jewellery designer, column writer, blog writer, potter, movie set designer, theatre set designer, video intro and outro designer, furniture designer, interior decorator, wedding planner, events planner, music supervisor, background music creator, cover designer, tiny house designer, etc. etc.
The world we live in today is full of colour, textures and sounds, and we’re bombarded with it in the form of adverts every day. So much so that some of us have become immune to it all and don’t realise that every business requires a team of creative people to make their websites, adverts, logos and more. Pictures are splashed on everything from CD and DVD cases to book covers and food packaging. Absolutely everything you come across has been designed to be as appealing and cost efficient as possible to ensure maximum sales and minimum outgoings. Creativity is also helpful when it comes to problem solving, even if you’re working on a cure that will save hundreds of lives or imagining solutions to a problem in your head, you’re being creative.
The rise of social media and technology has increased the demand for creative people too; I may be able to write a book but I sure as hell would struggle to design a book cover. I don’t have the necessary computer skills to make an epic book cover that will help to sell my book, and even though everyone warns you to ‘never judge a book by its cover’ we all know that a good book cover can help to boost sales massively. So many aspiring authors will spend months writing a book and then will slap an awful cover on the front, mainly because trying to find a book cover designer can be difficult and expensive. So, if you’re good with Photoshop, Coral and have a stock of royalty free images then designing book covers could be your calling.
To you or the person in your life who wishes to be more creative, show them this blog and let go of the traditional painter and musician image that may spring to mind. You are already creative you just haven’t realised it yet. There’s no doubt that any creative pursuit like anything you choose to do in life will take time and dedication, but don’t limit yourself to just a few creative areas, not everyone feels comfortable with a paintbrush or instrument and there are thousands of creative possibilities to explore.
On a final parting note, it took a load of creative people to design and build the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and it will take hundreds and thousands of more creative people to tackle the problems the world will face in the future. Creativity isn’t something out of reach and untouchable, it’s already there hiding amongst everything you do and it’s not going anywhere, it’s growing and it’s evolving.
“If we’re all in a ship together, and the ship has some holes in it, and we’re sort of bailing water out of it, and we have a great design for a bucket, then even if we’re bailing out way better than everyone else, we should probably still share the bucket design” – Elon Musk (product architect of Tesla Motors)
Note from the author: This blog is based on my own opinions. I know I haven’t referenced specific articles or websites throughout this blog, but a few simple google searches should support the content in this blog.