When I went off to pursue my college degree, I was sure I wanted to go into advertising. I chose a school in New York City, the hub of all things marketing, and started right in with Advertising 101. It wasn't a history of advertising class or even the art of advertising, which would've certainly appealed to me, it was the economics and the business. I switched majors pretty soon thereafter, not thinking I had the temperament for advertising - art history seemed a better fit. I don't necessarily regret it, I loved studying the history of art, art movements, and art's influence on and by culture. But it's only been in the last 10 years or so that I realized what I liked about advertising was actually the graphic design behind advertising, I just wasn't able to put my finger on what drew me there in the first place. Based on this eureka moment a decade ago, I've tried to be more thoughtful about why I like what I like, what exactly about "this" resonates with me and really learn from the process. I've learned that it's called being a "compassionate observer" to your inner dialogue, constantly learning by being engaged and open to what effects you.
With this in mind, I knew when I landed on the work of design and illustration firm Eight Hour Day that there was so much there to take in and be inspired from. This husband & wife team from Minneapolis has a beautiful crisp style that works well to distill their clients image wether it be web sites, art posters, branding swag - it all has a cohesive feel, but a unique spin. That's the hardest to pull off for any creative, be it an illustrator or an architect - how do you retain that personal style that made you recognizable, but still deliver custom design? This is where people diverge, there's many that would argue that we're rendering a service and that equates to being nimble and flexible with any style, removing "your" style from the equation and others would uphold that a strong point of view is valuable in being unique even though it may not appeal to the masses. I get both opinions, but I tend to prefer a strong point of view, working with a tight defined palette and experimentation within the confines of a personal set of rules. I'm a fan of process, we all have some way that we get from point A to B and getting a peak into that creative journey is always enlightening. That's why when I stumbled upon an interview by Grain Edit regarding Eight Hour Day's process I was so excited to share. Beginning with a client's goals then expanding to a variety of mood boards and then reducing to a streamlined design story, this interview is definitely worth a read and explains the process in a way that can transcend many creative fields.
If you're interested in reading more on this topic, a post titled "How to be the best at what you do" delves into similar ideas and can be found right here. Based on all this, what's your take on maintaining one's unique style or allowing yourself to be wildly creative for each project, a blank slate? What part of the creative process needs to be flexible and what parts need to be fixed, in order to maintain design integrity?