Mind over Matters: Another Creative Industry Rant

I read this today. It struck a chord…to say the least.

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The immediacy of the small business commercial art industry and the expectation of quality is totally out of whack. You simply can’t have a great product, cheaply, within mere hours. It cannot be done. This time/quality inaccuracy has made absolutely sure that sameness is everywhere…and it’s a plague that’s, apparently here to stay.

How can we break the cycle?

Start focusing on design/creative work as what it actually is: A process.

It’s the creative process. The development process. It’s artwork. It’s design. It’s, being presented with a creative systems problems and using the mind, the heart and intuition to fix it. It’s taking all the pieces of a client’s business and merging it with their emotions. It’s making sure that whatever is being created elicits an emotional response from a specific group of people.

This doesn’t happen overnight, for $5 bucks. It just doesn’t. Stop feeding this beast. Amazing work is not an afterthought! It’s a well planned out series of goals and benchmarks. It’s long, insomnia filled nights, battling with self-worth, the waves of inspiration and excitement. It’s taking walks to think, to go to the gym to sweat, to talk with friends and strangers. It’s drinking a beer and letting go of expectations for 5 minutes, tricking the mind into thinking that it has all the time in the world. It’s fucking human.

The reality, from the perspective of a professional freelancer in the industry is this: The mind has a 1-2 hours to cram research, to make split second decisions about look and feel, to stalk a client’s personal life on the internet to try and glean details about style preferences, and then, that evening, to try and produce something that’s amazing, against all odds, in the face of adversity. That’s the reality of why there is so much of the same style everywhere. That is why there is no longer anything that’s truly unique. The plague of sameness is everywhere.

I do a lot of creative services marketing on Facebook, and I’ve noticed that one of the major perpetuations of this fallacy is people going out of their way to make sure it looks like they’ve spent only a few hours, between drinking designer coffees or lounging in Bali, to create their masterpiece. Her course, his eBook or this amazing website I just designed did not, in fact, take a mere afternoon.

Let’s start being honest with each other. Every, single creative piece is a culmination of events, of thoughts, of planning and then careful execution. It’s someone’s brain, someone’s mind that you’re buying / selling / using. You hire a creative services professional for his or her life experience, their perspective, their thought process, their intuition. Technical skills are learned, but you cannot re-create life experience in The Creative Market. You just, can’t. 

So please, stop trying. Stop feeding this beast that bleats “it can be done! it can be done! it can be done for $5 in 24 hours!” We’re not computer programs, we’re not robots, we’re not a cheap squeeze on a street corner.

The uneducated world is obsessed with immediacy. Obsessed. And it’s killing our ability to create beautiful things.

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