Coming straight out of college and being thrown into the real world can be a daunting experience. It can be unsettling and lonely at times. Sometimes it can feel as if you lost because it is all so new; so different. But in those moments you truly find your identity. What makes you, you. What separates yourself from all the other John’s or Jack’s or Sarah’s in the world. I believe that everyone is unique and has a niche that makes them shine. I think this thinking applies to any standard in the world, just because you don’t see eye to eye with someone on does that mean your wrong? Is there even a ‘wrong’ answer when its comes to being creative?
College was a fun time. For four short years you experience something that you never realize is so incredible until you receive your diploma and realize that it’s over. You make lifelong friends, experience new things (like cracking an egg for the first time because you never learned how to cook), and gain an unmeasurable amount of knowledge that really guides you for the rest of your life.
I was very fortunate to go to an incredible school that really let you be yourself. I was even more fortunate to have graduated from that school with a degree in Visual Communication and Design. I loved everything about my program at Kent State. Even more so I loved every Professor that I was lucky enough to even be in a room with. They had so much professional experience, from designing type faces, to creating incredible and dynamic companies, to illustrating for the wall street journal. It was a ride that I’ll never forget. Don’t get me wrong there were moments where I wanted to drop the program because I didn’t think it was a good fit for me and I just didn’t think I would make it through, but those Professors pushed me to level I never thought was possible and I owe my degree to them.
Upon graduating college and starting my professional career with Sparq Designs I have been even more lucky to work with such humble group of people just as passionate about this field as I am. In working with so many diverse clients, and meeting my fellow designers from various universities I started to question my education a little bit. Thinking back on my four years there was a consistent x factor that went into designing, and it was “well will the teacher like this.” And that’s when I got to thinking, is there really a way to tell someone that their creative ideas are wrong?
Telling someone they aren’t creative is like telling Leonardo DiCaprio he isn’t a good actor, or telling Emma Watson she isn’t beautiful…..Everyone is creative in their own way and that’s what makes creativity so unique, everyone has their own take on it. That’s what I always thought was odd in school. In group critiques we would critique someone else’s design, which I though wasn’t right cause who am I to tell someone that their design was wrong. Now most of the time the critiques were for layout purposes such as alignment, and hierarchy, but sometimes a teacher wouldn’t like how a student laid something out, but then there were students that likes how that layout looked, so who was right and who was wrong, it’s all personal preference if you ask me.
I read an article written by a woman by the name of Carolyn Kaufman Psy.D. and in that article she said “One of the biggest barriers to creativity is this notion of the “right” answer. We spend our lives being taught to look for and respond with a predetermined answer some other person discovered or delineated, so of course when we want to come up with something original, we’re stymied.” I think that applies to a lot of creative programs in college, when a professor tells someone they are wrong, it’s usually not wrong it’s just different. And I think that different needs to be embraced more than shut down. There is not one right way to be creative. All of my teachers have been very successful for their own take on creativity, and they have been amazing at passing down their knowledge to us as students. I’m not criticizing them by any means, I’m just raising the question if there is a way to judge someone’s creativity.
The greatest thing I have learned from my short months in the professional world is that there is no limitations on creativity. There is no right and wrong. And I think we limit ourselves as designers by not pushing ourselves enough in school because we are always seeking to please other people rather than take a risk and try something new and exciting. I loved every moment I spent at Kent State, and am thankful for all those who pushed me and sculpted my education, but if I learned anything since I have moved on from the college lifestyle it is don’t limit yourself. Push yourself and let your creativity be what it wants to be because you are unique and you need let that uniqueness shine through.
Chad Parise is a Graphic and UX Designer at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about him, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the Sparq team today.
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