Monday, June 10, 2013

Nice design doesn't make it true

Let's start our Monday off by debunking a myth. Okay, not so much as a myth as a popular platitude.

First of all, let's define "platitude" as a refresher: a flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound.

As in, "The internet is crawling with platitudes treated in graphic format." Here's a good example:

Now, as far as the overall look and concept of this goes, I love it. Very cool. It's the message that irks me: "Design every day." And feel free to substitute any similarly creative occupation here, such as "illustrate", "write", "mime" or whatever.

Yes, we need to practice our profession, and do so regularly. Muscles that don't get used, atrophy. I get it. But even when exercising, your muscles need something else along side the work. Rest.

Same goes for any creative process. I would say design/illustrate/write most days, but for the sake of Odin's One Good Eye, spend at least one day, preferably two, when you don't. Don't do anything remotely like it. Step away from the computer, don't touch your paints or pencils.

Go outside, maybe go hiking. Take guitar lessons. Browse the flea market. Catch a baseball game, learn Russian, invent time travel, whatever.

And this isn't just me. Scientific studies show that our conscious brains need to take breaks and do things totally unrelated to the task in order to progress. One demonstrates that we learn and retain new information or a new task much better if we study it right before a good night's sleep. Another showed that kids who got reduced recess times (or no recess at all) saw their school progress drop like a stone.

Not only does our brain need a break to prevent utter exhaustion and burn out, just like our muscles, but our subconscious needs a chance to process it, too. That's why we often get our great ideas in the shower or while driving.

So there you go. Give your creative muscles rest & recovery periods. And don't believe everything you read on the internet.

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