Staying Creative

by ZebSadiq 27. June 2010 01:20

For as long as I can remember, I've had a creative flair.  As a kid, I pounced at every opportunity to design and build whatever I could with the materials that were available to me. It is part of the reason why I became a software developer.  Having limited resources to build with, as a kid, is why programming appealed to me. Its was like having an unlimited amount of resources available  to you at your finger tips.

Earlier on in my programming ventures, I was always eager to build something that was visually impressive as well as functional. The prior being more important to me at that age. The armature techniques for achieving this would be laughable by my own standards today, I guess we all learn over time.

Little did I realise at the time the consequences of choosing software engineering as a career path.  I was abandoning a part of my creativity by limiting myself to engineering. Its been a good choice since I'm good at building things and  software engineering requires a certain extent of creativity. However it does not make use of a free creative mind. Abstract ideas and engineering rarely come together successfully and that's understandable since engineering is founded upon defined techniques rather than disobeying guidelines all together.

Recently, I've felt the urge to unleash some of the locked away creativity. I really wanted to assess my own standing in what I consider this modern age of creativity. My reference to modern day creativity does not mean people were not creative before. Rather that in the past decade, creativity has had to be even more creative and creative has also have to be more limited than before. Take designing web sites for example, the old creativity was just make a website look like  a website. I guess at the time, people didn't have broadband connections so the amount of resources and techniques available at the time were lower, therefore designers had different challenges. Now a days, a designer has to follow the modern day requirements, such as choosing accessible colouring as well as designing a site which obeys modern trends in harmony with technological capabilities.  This requires more thought than before.

I chose to redesign by blog as an objective. I thought this would a) let me exercise creativity b) allow me to utilise my front end coding experience c) assess my own creativity levels in proportion to other creative pieces of work by other people.  Luckily for me, I had some Photoshop skills. Even more, I have been working with professional website designers for the last 5 years, so I had a vague idea about the tools and techniques they used in their jobs.

It was an interesting experience. It took me a lot longer than a professional designer to get my design in finished (if a design could ever be totally finished). I think a professional designer could design what I did in just a 3rd of the time I took. I had to get used to the limitations of doing work inside a development environment I was not used to (Photoshop). Early on in this little project, I planned to go through some design concepts and design iterations, something I have learnt off the professionals. I came up with 5 different design concepts, once the concept was chosen, I went through further 5 iterations of refining the design. I didn't expect this to take too long but in reality it did. I under estimated the time required between each iteration.

On the whole, I really enjoyed going through this process. I learnt lots about my own capability. I think with most professions, experience matters and there is no exception here. I cant claim my design is the best blog design in the world. However I do think it demonstrates my creative ability.  Its been an enjoyable task and something I world do again.

I wonder how many other developers are out there with creative skills that are locked away. It could only help developers like myself  to practice our creative side skills.

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CSS | Creativity | Design


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