Spending one month in Berlin is possibly one of the best things I have ever done. It was a much needed time of reflection and life realignment as my career had arrived to a very dangerous point, being bored…
When boredom strikes, it becomes very difficult to produce anything decent, or anything at all without resentment. This not only becomes a crisis, but can also be potentially damaging for the people that you work with. However, through my explorations on this trip, and the time spent to just live, I was able to find an area that once again triggers my enthusiam and drive.
It was a leap into the unknown, but any new venture requires this same confrontation. Confronting your fears will almost always lead to rewarding experiences. I have decided that this will now become my modus operandi, to continue to put myself in discomforting situations in order to break free from limited thinking. The anxiety will fade, the inner critic will drown out. Like the mollusk, you will develop your much desired pearl from a source of irritation.
Like the mollusk, you will develop your much desired pearl from a source of irritation
Travelling also allows you to break free from routine-like thinking. A disconcerting condition of the design world is that it is leading to a point of creative homogeneity due to the oversharing of work. Too often I found myself going towards trendy solutions because it saved time, or looking to visual social media to generate my ideas. I think in moderation it works, or as learning technique (see Are You Copying Enough?), but it can also lead to unhealthy creative habits. It will now become my last line of defence. Inspiration is all around us, and we should use it. The trick is to develop the awareness to notice.
Setting apart one month in the year to explore creative projects and learning to code (for real) has incredibly rewarding. For the little that it cost (compared to what it would cost not to), I will now see this as the standard for what I should expect of my years to come. I would recommend it to anybody. You only have to overcome the mental hurdle and the limitations that you set on yourself.
The work I produced in Berlin sprouted a new branch in my creative life. I admit that visually and technically I am still at the initial stages, but is there a more exciting time? Using code to finally bridge the gap between my personal and client work has opened many possible trajectories, and the “not-knowing” may have been what I needed all along to maintain a passion in what I do. Being able to build my own tools and products now frees me from having to work on other people’s ideas. Spending time with a fantastic group and dedicating time to meeting new people has lead me to readjust my priorities. Knowing how to create amazing visuals with code allows me to reconnect with a long ignored part of my thinking, which is not focused only on design and the functional, but the abstract and aesthetic. But now the best part … to see where it all takes me.