It is in our nature to classify. Heaven, earth. Tangible, abstract. Physical, spiritual. This is how we make sense of a vast world. A strategy of containment. Order from chaos. Confidence from fear. This is an understandable methodology of comprehension – ingrained within human behavior for thousands of years. That is not to say that it is correct, or the only way to engage with the universe. 

What about taking a deep breath and looking at the bigger picture? Absorbing the totality of existence may sound like effort-filled hyperbole, but it is,in fact, within the realm of what we are going to talk about. Often abstract thought is determined by perspective. As I see it, the world isn't linear, a chronological singular narrative that start and ends. Rather it is a multiplex of interconnected networks, advancing, iterating, feeding back into each other and regenerating infinitely. The system is always on.

All existential pondering and beard-stroking aside, once we look at the world holistically, definition as a process can start to look too reductive and divisional – something man-made and artificial – a human construct of separation. We must confront complexity in its entirety. To quote arguably the most prolific creative of all time.


“Learn to see. Realize that everything connects with everything else.”        Leonardo DaVinci



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What does this all mean within the creative paradigm? To answer the question we must first scrutinize the definition of creativity. Before getting into particulars let's take some general preconceptions. The dichotomy of something from nothing is prevalent. The notion that the creative act somehow brings a tangible entity into the world where there was once void. A thought induced Big Bang if you will related to ‘things' specifically. People also believe creativity is inherently artistic. A process bound to painting, writing, dancing or music. In other words, it isn't scientific or calculated. Yet Einstein's thought experiment about traveling alongside a moving beam of light led, eventually, to the famous E=MC2 equation. The Theory of Relativity was born from a creative visualisation technique. These are just strands of thought, some contradicting others. There is no right and wrong here, simply interpretation. Yet they all feel too restrictive.  


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Let's look at a definition of creativity.

The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and interpretations.

The first thing we see is that the concept of transition is apparent. However, it is not just related to the ‘something from nothing' dichotomy. Rather it is simply the idea of change or transformation. A movement in the abstract – not related to anything tangible. Simply a shift. So what is clear is that creativity isn't only about objecthood. It can be applied to thought, methodology, interpretation, philosophy, rules, patterns, networks. What was once specialised and finite in its application is opening up. There is a fluidity here, a versatility. A connection and overlap between creativity as a concept and its areas of implementation. We are seeing versatility – the germ of universality.

In a multiplex world of connected systems, creativity is multifaceted, transcendent – it is not inextricably tied to anything. Process as process in its purest form. It is free.


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Traditionally design has always been very structured – organized and classified into different disciplines, different specialist vocations within those disciplines and different responsibilities assigned to individuals within those bespoke positions. Each member is a contingent part of a universal whole, a cog with a particular function within a bigger machine. There is nothing wrong with this approach, it has worked for many years. However it is a system that perpetuates its own weaknesses. It re-enforces both procedural classification but more importantly psychological and behavioral classification.

I'm an Art Director, I can write sure…but I know nothing about project management so don't ask me. It's not my job – type syndrome.

But if we always have round pegs in round holes, what happens when the square hole arises from the hypothetical ether? If creativity exists in multiple specialised permutations determined by process, function or discipline, its potential becomes finite. Our concept of creativity as fluid change destroys determinism, opening up possibility. Once one starts to really think of creativity in this way, and act on it, one begins to dive into other disciplines and other areas organically. The transcendence is natural. 


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I'm not just waxing lyrical. It has happened to me. I live it every day. Even in my early advertising years I followed these principals, laying the foundation for how I now operate. So despite being a copywriter by trade, I naturally evolved into art direction, planning, coding and project management. As a creative I felt liberated, knowing I could apply creativity beyond just writing or producing advertising concepts. I could analyse data for consumer insights, improve executional and production processes to make them more efficient, look at changing internal communication within my agency, alter the traditional brand-consumer relationship. I was free to implement creative change anywhere at any time.

This methodology allowed me to easily integrate within the interdisciplinary environment of Balmond Studio . I maintain the integrity of our intellectual property across all areas of the business, as well was working in a more pure design role in other areas including interior design, product, fashion, jewelry graphics, advertising/branding and management. Within some of these I have prior training and experience, others it's a steep learning curve from day to day. Yet I can channel my brain into creative challenges in both the tangible or abstract with confidence across any discipline. Fluid creativity is free creativity.



Defying convention can be difficult. Staying within accepted parameters breeds familiarity. It's what we have experienced in the industry on a daily basis, it's how it is set up to function. This cerebral ball and chain is a burden. To break free from the shackles is to unleash your creativity across any discipline or problem. Once you are moving freely there is really no going back.