Design That Defies Shapes

by Alfredo A. Weeks VI

Now we graphic designers have all heard the term, think outside the box. What about “I like that piece it’s very clean” or, “I’m tired of people not thinking outside the box”. Why the hell are we talking about boxes so much anyway? Actually, I prefer circles.

I get it, the idea is to try and do something different, something new and exciting right? Well, those of us who went to art school it’s almost as if using these terms gave us a right of passage. Saying clean, minimal and outside the box gave us relevance. Let’s get real here, we have all used these terms, but when are we going to step out of that overly judgemental designer mindset. You land a couple of gigs and go to a couple of conferences and all of a sudden, your hot stuff huh? All because you chose to play it safe. I’m so over the designer jargon, the mandatory designer flannel and the bicycle bags that say “hey!! I’m a designer (I have one too, btw). I’m talking past the fake it till you make it demeanor. I’m looking for that design culture that thrives on the counter culture and not only basing your work on industry standards.

Take it and blow a whole through it and stop being afraid of what others may say.

Honestly, I think a designer needs a reality check every now and again, just to refocus and find a risk worth taking. I think what I’m getting at is how I wish there were more risk takers in the design world. Stop playing it safe, whether it’s something just for fun on your Instagram feed, or you try to ease a little spice into a project at work, sometimes you just gotta risk it a little. Mess something up and see what you can discover because I need inspiration people! We designers are literally OCD on what is theoretically supposed to work. Which in turn, holds us back. From trends to recycling old projects, take it and blow a whole through it and stop being afraid of what others may say.

Creative types thrive on being individuals, being opposite from the norm. But, when many designers have the opportunity to try something new, they retreat and look for that old cardboard “box” they’ve been holding onto since their first logo project.

Start setting flame to that “box”. Try a new language, find a show that you don’t understand at all. How about studying something that has absolutely nothing to do with design. Especially for our small studio types because we need that drive and substance to make sure we stay relevant.
I’ve seen some great work out there but there needs to be some kind of design revolution. Just for the fun of it. Stop worrying about the prestige and awards of it all. Hackathons are great to just let go on a project. I’ll never forget how inspired I was by designers working for 48 hours straight thinking of how they were going to come up with a great brand with people they just met.

All I’m saying is that there is more to it than just sitting at your computer all day trying to make sure other designers like your work, in other words, playing it safe. We are much more than people who just have a creative intellect. Let’s not allow for the right brain thinkers’ creativity to turn into mush, all because we continue on this cookie-cutter downward spiral. All I’m asking is, can we try and find new ways to express ourselves as designers.

Let’s cut the shit show and try something risky. I’m not some kind of design guru here, I’m just sharing.