In a Designer’s Head: Cutting Through the White Noise to Get to the White Space

I’m pretty certain that I speak for many of us in the creative profession when I say that we have A LOT going on inside our heads. We are the rare breed who engage our right and left brains concurrently, which means we are dreaming up things that have never been seen at the same we are creating a a perfect grid with which to align every single element on a page. We are constantly distracted by unexpected colors and textures at the same time we are noticing a pattern of lines in a busy intersection. We’re wishing the menu had better typography while we’re debating whether we need more protein or more dark leafy greens for lunch.

I will never have enough notebooks/sketchbooks to record all of my big ideas. These are just the books I can see without getting up from my desk.

To be honest, it’s exhausting. That’s why all designers worth their salt are totally addicted to coffee. Like if the Zombie Apocalypse happens and we have to quickly gather survival supplies, it goes 1. COFFEE 2. Everything Else.

But I digress. The upside of all of this activity in our noggins is that we are energized by it just as much as we are exhausted by it. We fall into the “Easily Amused” category because we are surprised and delighted by creativity, in all its glorious forms. It makes life more fun. It means we can often find the upside or the solution when it appears that there are only obstacles.

I have to manage the funhouse that is my head. When it’s time to say, write a blog post without going off topic, I very deliberately set the stage. It looks like this:

  • Write “Blog Post” at the top of my left aligned list
  • Take care of any easy To Dos (answer the quick email, unload the dishwasher)
  • Reheat my coffee (for the 3rd time)
  • Turn the ringer off
  • Close extraneous windows on my computer

After all that, there’s like a 70% chance that I won’t get distracted. I started this post yesterday, btw. But I had to take a break to play with the dog. And then I got thirsty. And then I saw a funny tweet and couldn’t stop laughing and forgot all about this post.

I don’t think the rest of the world understands how special a person has to be to have this much going on in their head and still figure out what the client really wants, be original, communicate clearly, meet every deadline, run a business and be a decent human. I’m not saying we’re unicorns. But have you ever seen a designer and a Unicorn in the room at the same time? Ok, I’m totally saying we’re unicorns.

 

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