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Never Create in a Bubble

August 21st, 2013 • 1 Comments

I am proud to count myself among the creators. These are the people who bring things into existence with the resources at their disposal and the knowledge and skills they posess. I, for one, (primarily) create websites. And though my creations are, for the most part, intangible, I have produced them entirely on my own. This is, by far, my favorite thing about being a founder and having a startup. Almost every day, I get to take something from my imagination and use a language few people speak to slowly turn my vision into reality. I get to manifest my dreams. And that's a magical thing. 

But creating things on my own brings with it a risk that is incredibly difficult to forsee. I'm referring to the dangerous trap of creating in a bubble. And it is something to which even the most experienced creators can fall victim. 

Every creator has a personal aesthetic. This aesthetic can be thought of as the repertoire and range of styles an individual is capable of organically producing. As creators, we strive to expand and refine our repetoire and aesthetic. But this can only be done by exploring the possibilities that exist beyond our own aesthetics. Thus the act of creating in a bubble occurs when those creating something do so without any outside influence during the entirety of the process. This normally results in substandard creations which do not live up to or reflect the intention of the creation. 

Despite what you may think, isolated individuals are not the only ones who create in a bubble. Partners, teams, and even those who actively participate in their related creator communites can also fall victim to creating in a bubble. This occurs when said groups become isolated and begin to perpetuate and value their own design aesthetic over outside ones. Even the most experienced creators can fall victim to this scenario. And sometimes they are right to do so.

Unfortunately, this creates a fine line that creators must be wary of crossing. In order to expand one's aesthetic, you must be consistently researching the aesthetic trends of the moment. However, you must be sure that you are using the aesthetic most appropriate to whatever you are creating. This means not perpetuating the style of the moment for the sake of being on trend. Overall, you must justify your decisions while being sure that they are as well-informed and researched as possible. 

The dangers of creating in a bubble and the process and benefits of aesthetic research is something I talk about in great lengths in my book on web design. In fact, its the foundational part of the "research" in Research Design Repeat. This is because creating, or in this case, designing, in a bubble is something most novice designers fall victim to. Either they create websites completely oblivious to current trends and accepted web design principles (another topic explained in great detail in the book) or they are aware of the trends, recognize examples of exceptional web design, but, either consciously or subconsciously, do not try to implement said accepted aesthetics. Only when they put an end to this, can people begin to become good at web design and creating in general. Because it's not about inherent talent, it's about seeing the most exceptional creations and knowing how to properly and appropriately implement pieces of its aesthetic. 

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Comment posted by Yohann • 2013-08-21 14:57:47

Agreed. Unless you think of yourself as the modern-day Van Gogh of creativity :)

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