One thing that hasn’t been readily available to us Designers is time to be creative. Sure you might say ‘but you’re paid to be creative’. That’s correct, but it’s also the problem. By being paid to be creative, we accept a brief, budget and deadline which constrains how creative we can be.
Something that we do at Yada is make time every week to experiment, research, innovate and learn something new… without the need to apply it to a particular brief. This usually begins with a stroll through Adelaide to find a strong cup of coffee. We may apply our findings to a passion project or client (such as a charity) or it may end up in the bin. Either way we learn some new skills that we can use in future client projects, and given our mind some uninhibited space to create. The time we dedicate to this isn’t formally set, but it would add up to roughly half a day to a day per week. Google gives its staff similar freedom, encouraging them to spend 20% of their time on a self-initiated project that they feel will give benefit to the company.
It’s fun. No brief means you can work with stuff you’re personally passionate about.
Here are some of the benefits we’ve observed in having dedicated creative time:
- You can meet new people. For example, doing a project for a Charity / NFP means you can connect with people outside your usual circles.
- You learn stuff. Trying a new technique results in new skill being learnt, giving you a sense of achievement and growth.
- You’re allowed to fuck up. You could spend hours on something and if it ends up being shit you can just forget about it and move on with life. This isn’t a luxury had when working on strict client deadlines.
- It feels like being back at school. Remember when you were at school and the teacher said ‘write a 1000 word story’ and you could just pick any topic you like? That feeling.
- It’s fun and it feels awesome coming to work in the morning knowing you have the time to create.
- Stay relevant. Just getting smashed with the same projects over and over again means it’s easy to become removed from what your industry is doing, and you just end up doing what is comfortable. Having the time to see what’s happening globally in your industry means you stay current and bring that knowledge to your work and ultimately to your customers.
- Work on your weakness. We’re all shit at something. Use the time to casually improve by doing tutorials, asking others, doing a course etc.
We hope this helps get you thinking about some of the positives that you might be able to get from setting time aside for your own development 🙂