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The Pursuit of Bad Design

Posted by On Oct 23, 2018 In Ideas, Opinion Tags , , , , ,

Creative pursuits suck.

They don’t suck because they don’t have value,
because they’re unimportant,
because they’re elite.

They suck because they take time,
because you have to do the hard work,
because you have to put in the emotional labour,
because you need to keep showing up.

It begs the question,
How do creatives keep showing up?

Do they stare at the blank screen, or page, in fear? Perhaps.
Can they work through the fear? Sometimes they have no choice. There’s a deadline, a client, a commission. They need to be professional about their work. It takes time.

What if, however, they’re stuck? Let’s take a writer for example. What if they insisted that they had writer’s block?

[Newsflash] There’s no such thing as writer’s block. You’re not stuck, you’re just trying to be perfect. Paralysed by a fear of committing to something less than perfect, or maybe just less than good.

To quote writer American writer, William Faulkner: “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” The point being, sometimes you have to just sit down and write. It may not be good, but at least it’s written. There’s not enough good writing, because there’s not enough bad writing.

The thing about creative pursuits is that they’re a discipline. They take time. Inspiration may strike, but more often that not, it doesn’t. Instead it’s necessary to sit down at 9 o’clock and do the hard work, to draw, to paint, to write, to jam on your instrument. As Buckminster Fuller observed,
“Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.”
His assertion is that it is impossible to see all the work that goes into the outcome.

When we’re designing at Redshift, we end up with piles of paper. Immense piles of work that is terrible. Prodigious piles of work that is good but not right. Whopping big piles of work that is an iteration or two short of less than perfect. We also end up with a small pile. A pile of work that is as close to a shade of perfection as possible. It takes time. It takes discipline.

There is not enough good design because there is not enough bad design.

Pursue bad design.

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