Firstly, apologies for the reference to the Wham! song to non-Wham! fans - I hear the word 'freedom' and the lyrics instantly come to mind. However, this lyric is somewhat apt for this subject area.
As a creative I have always strongly believed that freedom is vital. The freedom to explore, to go beyond a design brief, to allow flourishes of creativity to take off as and when they occur. That is, until today.
There is one magazine I read cover-to-cover - Psychologies - and a competition is currently running, asking readers to submit a 500 word story about a journey. It can be real or imaginary and presented in any format.
As the closing date is tomorrow I decided to give it a go and recounted my eight-month travels around Australia last year. The initial challenge came in condensing the material - eight months in 500 words at first seemed impossible. However, this constraint in fact focussed my writing. Instead of waffling on for thousands of words (as I am prone to do) I kept everything short. I only selected the humorous anecdotes, which has made me realise just what an adventure the whole experience was. Reflecting back on the trip has made me appreciate just how much I actually achieved in that space of time and how the small dramas (for example, getting stuck in sand in a dodgy side road on the first night of a road trip in a campervan) made the biggest impression on me.
Of course, I do not suggest that all creativity should be restricted to deadlines and design briefs, but the occasional boundary is not necessarily a negative thing. It can, in fact, aid creativity.
Chris Bilton claims "Constraints...[are]...the boundaries within which the creative effort can be channelled and against which the edges of possibility can be tested." (Bilton, C., 2007, Management and Creativity, Blackwell, Oxford. Pg.85)
I'm beginning to agree.