What Does It Mean To Be Creative?


young billie holiday preston bailey inspiration

(Photo via Civil Clothing)

Recently, I had a meeting with a client who expressed concern that my over-the-top design aesthetic won’t be a good fit for her daughter’s dream wedding. I was very humbled by our conversation. As a designer, I’ve always felt that my responsibility is to channel my clients’ needs and interpret them. I think I usually do a good job of this, but it was an important reminder that not everyone is immediately convinced.

As soon as I meet with a potential client, I start to get very excited about the job, and I waste no time visualizing how the event should look, feel and flow. Last night, in fact, I had a very vivid dream about this client’s daughter’s wedding. Even as I type this, I can remember in great detail the lighting and the way the dining room felt.

I didn’t expect to dream about this wedding, but I did… the creative process is always taking me by surprise!

What exactly does it mean to be creative? This is something I think about quite a bit. I’ve read a great deal about how the left and right sides of our brain function. But, for me anyway, it all comes down to my gut. From start to finish, I let instinct guide my designs.

Here’s the breakdown of my process:

1. I make a connection with my client and get a strong sense of what they’re feeling and hoping for.
2. I take my time contemplating at least three unique concepts. I let ’em simmer. Before long, beautiful images start swirling through my thoughts. I pay close attention to the images that feel especially right for my client.
3. I collect photos and create a storyboard.
4. I wait and see. Yep, that’s it. But being patient isn’t always easy. Sometimes, an idea strikes while I’m out on a run. Other times, I see a piece of art that sparks something. Or, I dream about it like I did last night. (Or I remember the photo above of a young Billie Holiday, whose voice and story have long inspired me!)

My ultimate goal is to create designs that feel right. My clients have to feel good about my designs, and I have to feel confident that my work is going to evoke incredible feelings in guests. See? It really is all about feelings. And that means relying less on my head and more on my heart.

Dear Readers, what does your creative process look and feel like?

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