I created this illustration eight years ago. I was at a very different stage of creativity that I’m in now. If you asked me then to define my creative brand, I might have talked about my desire to get my work noticed. Take a look at this illustration. It’s all about being noticed. The hand-drawn lines and distinct treatments, the mixed media montage... Look at all the effort I put into making something that had my fingerprints all over it. There was a reason behind this—I was a little disappointed with my move to work on the Web at that time. Sure—at first I was excited, but the Web was a different place back then and the lack of broadband and technology advances limited what you could do online. So in an effort to keep my creative juices flowing, I dabbled in illustration with the intent of creating a style that would get me recognized. I wanted to be “creatively unique”.
Today if you ask me what my creative brand is, you’ll get a very different answer. I sometimes describe my approach as being “creatively agnostic”. What I mean by this is that unlike the illustration, my goal is to not have a style. Why? Well part of it is because when you work at an agency where you shift gears on different brands, you can’t do brands justice if you are always trying to push your own personal creative bias. But it goes even deeper. I embrace creative agnosticism because I am not creating experiences for myself. I am creating experiences for individuals who have tasks to complete, goals to achieve and desires to be fulfilled. So I lose myself in their world. I forget about me and what I want. Everything I do reinforces the delicate dance that occurs between customer and brand. They need to forget that I’m even there. To put it in movie terms, the brand and customer become actors and my effort becomes almost like a set producer/designer. If I do my job right—they engage in the environment that's been created for them in a way that's comfortable, natural and authentic.
What got me thinking about my own creativity was Mike Wagner’s Draw A Picture post. I thought about what happens once the average person realizes that they are in fact creative beings. But what happens next? Once you figure out that you are indeed creative—what form does your creativity take? Are you a big ideas person? Do you develop a sense of cultural aesthetics? Do you become visual? Do you express yourself using words? Like the great art movements (expressionism, minimalism, post modernism) creativity takes on different forms based off of what currently influences us.
So once you embrace your creativity what comes next? As I eluded to earlier, I practice a different brand of creativity than I did years ago. It works for the initiatives that I currently undertake. But just like ourselves, our creativity changes over time. It changes based off what influences us and what’s needed from our being creative.
And like brands, your own personal style of creativity can be unique and should say something about who you are and what you stand for. That said, what is your creative brand right now?