Your intent is more important than the result

Type designer Erik Spiekermann on Twitter

According to the Oxford English dictionary, an intention is a logic conception formed by directing the mind towards an object.

At the beginning of every creative projects resides a will to express an idea under the constraints of a medium, thus an intention. First step to every creative process, an intention is a vision of the mind so pure that it could be hard to explain in details with simple words. It will need to be seen, touched, heard or smelled for someone else to be able to feel the scope of emotion that gave to the author the impulse to materialize it.

“I want to write a novel, I want to design an application, I want to build a cupboard” : ideas come and go very easily, but most of them stay ideas forever and never materialize. It’s partly because when you don’t have any experience of something that you aim to do, you lack the confidence to fully involve yourself in it. Every first time is daunting and very demanding, and nobody enjoys having to do something they’re not good at repeatedly. You will try, fail, try again, fail again, and then it’s only a matter of time until you definitely give up and deprive the world of a creation it might desperately need.

Also, we don’t take the time necessary to let our ideas grow as they should. If we can’t make it perfect, we will not feel satisfied and won’t value our effort as we should. There is an immeasurable value in trying to express your intent, a value that surpasses the value of producing a final result; the process of trying helps you look at your problem with different perspectives. If an idea do not do not serves this specific project of yours, it will serve another of your projects or fuel another person’s creativity. Not every idea is useful, but an idea that you keep to yourself and hide to the world doesn’t even have a chance to become anything.

Some projects on

The rise of internet crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Ulule or Go Fund Me is a good illustration of the power that a simple idea can have once it is out in the wild : before crowdfunding you had to convince a number of “important” people that your project is valid and will not be a waste of time and money, thus giving them the power to preside over its destiny. Nowadays, if you can explain your idea and present it nicely to the greater number of people possible, these same people will happily make a financial contribution to help you make your project a reality.

No matter how poorly presented, a good idea is a good idea. It’s unfortunately very common to see good ideas presented in an unadapted way. As a graphic designer, I have to defend my creative choices before my clients and convince them that what I’m showing them fits with their needs, even if they don’t see that at first sight. Sometimes I het get clear, immediate and negative responses to my proposals: “I don’t like it. At all. How is that even related to our company?” After a few exchanges with more explanation from my part, they’ll have a better grasp of my way of thinking , therefore they’re able to make more pertinents remarks that help us move the project forward.

I encourage everyone to periodically deconstruct their process of creation and when working, to keep your initial intent as a guiding light throughout the whole process; a point of refererence that will serve to gauge how far you are from your goal and all the discoveries you’ll make in the process. Your intent is intimately tied to who you are, to your personallity and your experience; it’s what gives your projects a unique identity and it should be considered as the purest manifestation of the creative expression.

Better done than perfect !

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