"I'm not a designer". "I'm not creative". These are statements that I hear all too often and it confuses me as to why people feel the need to express it. It’s as if being creative is reserved for a specific group of people with special abilities! Is it that designers, and the creative industry as a whole, have become so elitist that we’ve alienated and intimidated everyone else? Or is it simply because we constantly compare ourselves to other people around us? So we only ‘see’ what we can't do as opposed to what we can. Ok, you may not be a designer by trade; but your opinions, ideas, thoughts and experiences can make the difference between an acceptable design result and an extraordinary one. And while I agree you should leave certain things to professionals, creativity thrives on details. Especially when in reference to the world of company brands and their deliverables. Creativity is not just about colours and pretty pictures. It’s about innovation. Innovating to create something that serves a specific purpose.
Anyone can have an idea about a design concept. What non-designers and designers need to appreciate is, even though an idea may not be used (due to design or branding restrictions) it doesn’t mean it is not worth hearing. That first idea can lead to one that can work. The new idea may utilise aspects of the previous idea that were effective. Anyone can innovate if they choose to. Swap out an “I’m not creative” mindset for an “I am creative” one and then see what happens! Creativity materialises as people engage their innovation skills on a daily basis. By asking provocative questions, being observant and recognising the finer details of a situation. By voicing an opinion based on a different view of the situation and experimenting with the thoughts that are sometimes considered ‘out there’ (way way out there!). Worrying less about the skills you don’t have and sharing those that you do, helps guide a design. You obliterate the “I’m not creative” brain barrier and hopefully help create something that’s not just different, but specific to the task required.
So, to the non-designers, I say be brave! Speak up! No idea is stupid or ridiculous and just because your idea may not be able to be used (for very valid reasons), it doesn’t mean it was not worth hearing. Try and explain the reasoning behind your idea. While the exact idea may not be used on this occasion, elements of it based on insight from your reasoning may be adopted. Trust in the skills of your designer or design team to be able to find the diamond in the rough.
And to the designers, I say be more open. Encourage people to share their thoughts on what they require. Use the diversity, skill sets and knowledge of others to help look at things from a different perspective. Always try to give constructive feedback if a particular idea may not be feasible at this time. Explain why. Our clients may not always understand the boundaries or restrictions in which we operate. Moreover, feedback helps to continue the process and bring in adapted ideas and thoughts based on the new information.
It doesn’t matter where the inspiration comes from for a great solution to a design requirement. What matters is that the solution is fit for purpose and engages the right people. We are all looking to achieve the same goal. To find the best solution to help promote our company and assist our customers. Therefore, why not utilise all the resources available to achieve this task? While you may not be a designer; you can be innovative and creative in your own way. And your ideas and opinions have value.