“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
There’s a seductive, stubborn myth about creativity and those who make it their business. We’ve all heard it. Mercurial hipsters hoverboarding into the office at 10.30am, slurping a latte, before settling into a beanbag to await the muse.
Why does this misconception persist? One reason is the grouping of artists and designers in people’s minds. Both are linked of course. Both Art and Design express creativity and imagination. Both move their audience by the use of bold visual statements, aesthetic beauty and emotional power. But Art and Design are developed quite differently.
Design is a structured, disciplined process of problem solving. Often in service of demanding deadlines and defined problem statements. Finding a way to satisfy the project demands while moving the audience through artistry and inherent beauty.
While art often relies on unpredictable, unscheduled inspiration. Artists also toil under the deadlines and demands of commissions of course, but in general the artist enjoys autonomy at a level designers can scarcely imagine.
To paraphrase David Ogilvy: “If you are a writer of novels, or plays, or poetry, you can write and take your own time, generally speaking. But…(if) you’ve got deadlines, you've got to have the idea and it's got to be a great one, and you've got to have it Tuesday morning.”
So when you need to produce transformative design on demand, you need structure and process.
Schedule your creativity
You need to deliver truly transformative design that reshapes product categories. World-leading design capable of touching people’s hearts and becoming a cherished part of their lives. Oh, and you need to do it on time, on budget, on brief. On demand.
You need to fuse clear process, defined methods and strong structure with high levels of creativity, inspiration and interpretation. It might seem these two areas are in hopeless conflict.
But we made an interesting discovery. An idea that works by melding high structure and high creativity, an idea that’s simple and effective, an idea that we realised was the foundation to build our studio on – structure liberates.
We have an internal 9.00am meeting every day. You know what time it starts? 9.00.00 to the second. Every day. Why? Because, this military attention to detail, the focused energy of precision creates space for us to let our ideas unfurl. Nobody has to waste time and energy figuring out logistics, second-guessing process. Instead everybody’s free to explore their ideas, to iterate their thinking.
We see ourselves as conductors of an orchestra, creating precise frameworks to liberate our team of 15 highly creative designers to play their own symphonies.
We’ve developed a highly creative, inspiring workspace with space to draw, to sketch, to listen to music, to relax on beautifully designed furniture. Sadly no beanbags.
Our experience shows that the more structured your approach in some areas, the more free and highly creative you can be in some other areas. It’s the contrast of these two poles, structure and freedom, that allow people to do transformative work that impacts people’s daily lives. Design with a solid grounding.
Build structure to spark creativity
We developed the Eskild Hansen Design Methodology. A 100-page document detailing our five-step creative process: 1. Discover. 2. Design. 3. Ideate. 4. Prototype and Test. 5. Refine.
Within each step, there’s a wide range of methods, processes, tools and templates. This framework enables us to uniquely combine the Design Methodology to fit the challenges of any project. Because all projects are unique.
Following this approach means we can scale and repeat the success time and again. Because it isn't some ethereal, shamanic ritual, it's logical, definable, repeatable. Everybody has clear guidelines and it creates a lot of trust in the process and the people working within that process.
Our clients feel confident knowing that we follow a clearly defined process time and again, one we’ve invested in and that delivers proven results. That delivers the most creative design work they’ve seen, with beauty and emotional power.
Not because of the freedom of the artist. But because of the restrictions of the designer. Embrace order to unleash creativity.