Beware the Creative Thief

As designers and artists, we want to make pieces of work that we can call our own. Part of the excitement is being able to put our names beside our work and saying: I made this, and it’s here for you to see.

Some creatives worry about their ideas being stolen by someone bigger, badder, and bolder once their work gets posted publicly.

Others share regardless of the rampant idea-thievery that happens out of our control.

The point of living in a creative world is that ideas are free and for the taking, because ideas don’t carry value until they are realized (and to create value is why we became designers and artists).

Yet, giving yourself all the credit wouldn’t be fair to all those who helped you along the way, so this is why we give acknowledgements.

The point is that inspiration and ideas are everywhere, and they’re available for remixing as long as you’re willing to give something of value in return.

Do Something Everyday

If you want to learn how to create gorgeous posters on Illustrator, you can’t indefinitely spend your time scrolling through other people’s work.

This is why we learn by doing. 

Just like how we can’t learn to swim by reading a book, we can’t get better at design by simply talking about it.

Doing is the hard part. Fortunately, nobody said you had to be good when starting out.

The key is just to visit the task every day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad, because done is better than keeping it all in your head.

The Critics Lie

Criticism is a response to an unfulfilled lie we tell ourselves.

Before you entered the restaurant you’ve never been to, you took one good look at the logo sign, the surrounding environment, and the people around it. Unconsciously within a split second, you told yourself a lie about what to expect.

These snap judgements happen everywhere, and everybody does it.

They’re powerful, because once the lie forms, it hard to convince us that we’re wrong. We’ll even start to seek evidence to support our lie just so we don’t have to change our mind.

This is the battle between Mac and PC, Photoshop and Canva, LinkedIn and Instagram, OCAD and the community college across the street, Fjällräven and Herschel, Dr. Martens and Converse. 

More importantly, if the lie you told yourself isn’t fulfilled, you’ll be disappointed. And so as designers we have to find the lies, understand them, and make sure everything we do fits within the lie that people tell themselves.

Using Format