2012-05-12

Design Demons: The Creative Demon

An earlier post gave an overview of the design demons: Creative, Critic and Pragmatist. This post takes a closer look at the Creative Demon.

Each of the demons has their own levels of ability and influence. Ability is the strength of the demon in their specialisation. Influence is how likely the designer is to listen to demon. Each demon‘s talents are better suited for different parts of the design process therefore a designer should train themselves to minimise the influence of each demon and instead judge when their advice is most appropriate. A designer should also seek to develop strength in each of the each of their demons so that the overall team is stronger.

The Creative Demon is strongly related with the right side of the brain. It is the lateral thinker that comes up with the original ideas. Many of the Creative demons ideas are impractical, but one should not discourage the Creative demon from making them. When somebody has Designer's Block then their Creative demon is tired and out of ideas (see the Creativity section for help). The Creative Demon gets enthusiasm and rewards from coming up with many cool ideas. This makes the Creative demon very useful during the concept stage of the design process but a distracting influence during the development and production stages. However, the Creative demon can be useful during problem solving that can happen during production. The Creative demon's favourite word is Freedom.

The underdeveloped creative demon can come up with only derivative ideas occupying a limited range. A person with a underdeveloped creative demon but with strong execution skills will be very good within a small number of visual styles. This person will follow tutorials on the internet on how to produce some effect in popular software.

The strength of the Creative demon can be improved through stimulation and exposure to many different ideas. Inspiration is the life-force of this demon and it must be constantly replenished. Viewing the design works of others, visual art, music, culture and new experiences all provide inspirational fuel. Increasing the visual knowlege of the designer makes their creative demon permanently stronger. Also the act of creation in itself - especially when creating with others - is the equivalent of sending the Creative demon to the gym.

The noisy creative demon will continue to distract the designer way past the time concepting is completed. A noisy creative demon will always interupt with a completely different approach while the designer is trying to develop and produce an already selected idea. This can pull the designer off track and if they are seduced by their Creative demon's voice then they will always come with something new instead of finishing what they have started. This can delay the execution and delivery of a project.

A noisy creative demon can be taught to speak only in turn. Until the Creative demon knows to only speak in turn or when something is very important, the designer should move deliberately through each stage of the design process. At the end of each stage the designer should force themselves to make a decision that is not reversible without a second opinion from a more experienced colleague/friend. This should eventually train the Creative dragon to be noisy and quiet at the right times.

A strong creative demon is important for a designer to produce works that go beyond the mundane and ordinary. Working to improve the Creative demon will give long term benefit to the designer.