if I had a hammer

would every­thing look like a nail?

Been wondering if the tools we have at hand affect not only how we build something, but also the entire thought-process towards choosing what to build.
Do we come up with a design idea first and select and set up tools for the job later? Or, do we come up with and/or adjust design ideas based on which tools we have at our disposal and master the use of?

Somewhat of a chicken and egg conundrum that is well worth musing on.

thinking it over

Ideas come from con­sciously and uncon­sciously col­lec­ted bits of inspiration from any­where, and crea­tiv­ity in its purest form is the un­re­strained mind at work trying to make some­thing/​any­thing out of these ideas.
What a free-ranged mind can come up with may range from pure genious to pure non­sense, and it may take some effort and time to figure out what is what.

Everyone is born inherently creative, and don't have to be taught. It is a matter of letting indi­vid­u­als know that they can start apply­ing their unique forms for crea­tivity right away, and pro­vid­ing them with the freedom to do so.

What often holds people back from releasing their creative inner self into the world, is the feeling of not being able to measure up to expec­ta­tions. That's nonsense, as “expec­ta­tions“ are for those who already are well and truly locked-in by con­ven­tions.
Creative minds must never allow them­selves to be hampered by expec­ta­tions, as real crea­tivity is above and beyond all con­ven­tions.

Conventional thinking has a very limited role to play in creativity, although having common lan­guages and com­muni­cation skills is imper­a­tive if/​when one wants to share. Very few of us like to create in total isolation…

Educational institutions often fail, because too much of their cur­ric­u­lum is focused on preparing their students for con­ven­tional jobs and pos­i­tions in their respective societies, and too little on releasing inherent crea­tiv­ity without pre­deter­mined goals.

Teaching people how, when, where and why they should use what parts of their crea­tive abilities, is com­par­able with pro­gram­ming based on con­ven­tional binary logic. Com­put­ers are better suited for logical and end­les­sly repea­ted pro­ces­ses like that – that's all com­put­ers are capable of anyway.

In the name of “education”, students are not only taught how to program devices, but also how to them­selves be pre­pro­gram­med for future roles in societies.

Copy, paste, release – one generation after another.

getting the job done

Creativity without basic know­ledge of the tools of the trade obviously doesn't work, and within com­mer­cial web design there is lots to learn.

Selecting and preparing wireframe soft­ware, markup, styles, scripts, CMS, typog­ra­phy, image hand­ling, audio, video, anima­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion form … and maybe con­tent also has to be col­lec­ted and prepared, or created from scratch.

Everything required for the job has to be mastered and included in what­ever order the work­group or person can manage, until the job is signed off or transferred into the follow-up and main­ten­ance phase.

Wash, rinse, repeat – again and again.

the creative part

Creative minds may need a system of guide-lines for their crea­tiv­ity within their field of choice, to prevent them from straying too far off.
However, guide-lines should never be turned into fixed rules and reg­u­la­tions, as that will for­ever stifle crea­tiv­ity both in the individ, work­group and society.

Having a system in place can be both a help, and a hindrance, to creativity. Depends entirely on the system itself which way it works.

A system can make the most out of people's indi­vid­ual strengths, and even turn their weak­nes­ses into some­thing positive for them­selves and others.

A system can also divide workload math­ematic­ally correct, but not make room for indi­vid­ual consid­era­tions.

To make it work, better start by reining in the ration­al­i­za­tion experts so they don't step too hard on the crea­tive.
Increased effi­ci­ency is good, but not every­thing can be meas­ured and weighed. Get it wrong, and neither crea­tiv­ity, nor spirit and work­ethics, will survive for long.

profitable musing, or … maybe not

Ideas, creativity and tools are seemingly forever inter­twined in web design, as in all else in our societies. One is worth­less without the other, and the common denominator is of course com­mer­cial­i­zation.
Without the potential for profit neither ideas nor tools matter, and those who stand to profit couldn't care less about order. Same as with the chicken and the egg…

To me the above is not the most tasteful conclusion by any means, but after faith­fully fol­low­ing the trails of evidence all the way to the bank accounts I have no choice.

As nobody has to limit them­selves to this way of valuing, or rather devaluing, their own work and creative minds, I hope very few in the web design com­munity do. Flat screens present enough of a lim­i­ta­tion as it is – at least for now.

Let ideas flow freely … we can figure out what to do with them later.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 28.oct.2017
last rev: 28.oct.2017

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