Limitless Creativity: Is There A Wrong Answer When It Comes To Being Creative?

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?

via QuotesGram

via QuotesGram

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.


sparqheadshots2016-5Chad 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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How to Boost Creativity in the Workplace

Creativity is not limited. Often more than not there are people from various industries who insist they are “not creative” and that is usually followed up with the notion that they are “not artistic.” Surely they do go hand in hand. However in the broad spectrum of “the workplace,” creativity is useful in any industry and is not whatsoever limited to just art. Creativity is where ideas come about and then are crafted into something productive. No matter the type of workplace you are coming from, there are a few suggested ways of how to boost creativity in the workplace.

Add color to your office.

Imagine a dentist’s office. Immediate anxiety, right? If your working environment looks similar, consider adding some color, graphics, and warm colors. An office that consists of charts, numbers and white space restricts the mind and its creative capabilities. With the addition of color, people naturally thrive and are inspired by the atmosphere. 

Workplace Creativity

Wall decals are a simple and effective way to add a creative spark to the office.

Take a look at the emotions associated with the colors below and consider adding accents of different colors to your office space.

  • Red- Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, and determination as well as passion, desire, and love. It is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It is a color found in many national flags. It brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions.
  • Orange- Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, the sunshine, and the tropics. It represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. It increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity.
  • Green- Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. It has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye.
  • Blue- Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

It is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. It is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.

Think Outside the Box

Use the “Hot Seat” method.

There are plenty of people who are disgusted by the thought of being attached to the same desk and chair every day. Let’s finally fix this. Employees are going to work better when they are comfortable and can sit (or even stand) somewhere that will help them be more productive. When people are having a mental block or need a change of scenery it is nice to have the option of moving to a different spot. Whether that is sitting at the conference table, sitting outside, pulling a chair up to a bookshelf or even sitting on the floor. People naturally thrive in environments that make them feel comfortable.

Make time for brainstorming.

This is where the magic happens- when one idea blossoms into the award-winner. Set aside time each day or week for everyone to come together and brainstorm. This is the time for people to voice ideas, opinions and general thoughts. To take advantage of this brainstorming opportunity, employees can catch up on each other’s projects and progress. With input and discussion, ideas are often unleashed that would have maybe been overlooked and can now be put into motion.

Be critical.

If people are not constructively critical of each other’s work, then that certain project may be missing out on its full potential. Throughout a project or assignment, it’s useful to schedule critiques or spontaneously initiate them if the individual working on the project is stuck. Some people are hesitant to give critiques to their peers and some take criticism to the heart, but it is an extremely useful tool when developing an idea or project. People who participate in critiques expose their work to numerous pairs of eyes, skill-sets, and backgrounds that can pick out details that were overlooked and suggest alternative ideas that will push the project in a positive direction.

Create a safe environment for questions.

Remember when you were in the third grade and every single kid’s hand was raised high and proud? Then as you approach higher levels of education, those hands slowly started to lose confidence and then eventually there were no more curious questions or answers for the teacher’s questions. After being told “no” for numerous years of education, and when kids discover embarrassment, the hands go down. So, naturally, the average person becomes nervous when they have a question and sit silently.

For people who are in leadership positions – it is important to not only encourage people to ask questions and voice their ideas but to avoid saying the big “no.” Even if the thought is absolutely absurd, it is important to take a moment to ponder it. Either work off of the idea and morph it into a realistic opportunity or try saying something such as “That is interesting, what brought you to that?” instead of initially writing it off. When employees develop this confidence to voice their ideas and questions, the team will develop as a whole.

Jacqui Holiday Headshot

Jacqui Holiday is a Digital Marketing Intern at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about our intern experience, contact the  Sparq team today.

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