ANNA PENG

Creativity in Patterns

Going head first into a discipline where you aren’t willing to respect the rules and read the community guidelines, was a mistake I made in my time at design school. 

What I’m talking about is the framework for design thinking:

1. Empathize

2. Define

3. Ideate

4. Prototype

5. Test

I didn’t think creative work could possibly follow such a dry, structured process. How can something so seemingly free-flowing and non-formulaic possibly follow a process? However, the design thinking process was made and there for us before we were looking into the practice. 

But how does this apply to you? 

Chances are if you’re reading this, you are a creative yourself too. 

If you’re waiting for luck to happen, you might be waiting for some time because letting your work wait for somebody else to discover it is rarely a strategy that works. 

The community created a framework for a reason, and that’s because it works—it’s been tried, tested, and repeated over and over again across millions of great designers all over the globe. 

So when we start working on our craft, especially if it’s design work, the process isn’t an option. It’s the only way forward that will lead us to better and better work over time. 



Share Like an Artist

Throughout our lives we’ve been taught that we should share art when it’s good, and keep it to ourselves when it needs to be refined. And if it’s not perfect, then it deserves a C+ grade. Maybe we should’ve been taught is that it’s more important to share the work regardless of a grade outcome, because it would help us find feedback that helps our work rather than seek approval from an authoritative figure. 

Fortunately, what we’ve been presented to in design school is the gift of sharing the work despite not having it finished. We’ve been critiqued relentlessly, every single week for years—not for impressing anybody or flattering our egos, but for making our work, our designs, and our thoughts stronger. We’ve been sharing and shipping constantly but it’s easy to hide when the work no longer has to be presented for a grade. 

Now that we are safe in our homes for the foreseeable future, sharing our work becomes ever more important. Not because it’s for a grade, but because it benefits the people around us by letting them know that they’re not alone.


Walking With Failure

If you want to learn how to draw, you have to draw a lot—probably every day for a few years to get to the level of where you aspire to be.

How did you know that you wouldn’t be able to draw your perfect picture the first time around?

This thing is when trying something new, avoiding failure is not an option. Just like how it was necessary for you to draw 1,095 consecutive drawings before you got to place where you were  satisfied with your drawing abilities, things take time to develop (unless you’re a genius and have a genuine natural talent, however most people, myself included, are not).

Again we ask, how do we get to the place we want to be? There’s no shortcut around it, surely, because then there would be no need for good habits, long term schooling, or routine. 

It’s okay if we don’t get things right the first time. What we really need is to start taking steps so that we can draw exactly what is inside our heads, design exactly what we think could help somebody else, or be able to produce work for the big league players. 

As designers, our relationship with critique and failure is important to improve as it can either push us forward or stop us altogether.

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