Finding the Right Balance Between Creative and Effective Design

People think of 'design' as expensive and simply pretty objects. Yet, we also all know the saying: “Form follows function” (coined by architect Louis Sullivan). Where the line between creativeness and effectiveness lies, is hard to tell.

In its basics, design is about coming up with a lot of ideas, testing those ideas, and eventually finding a solution that solves a need of the end-user most effectively.

When simplified: the creativity of design can be found in both the first step and the last step of the design cycle.

In the first step, we'd need to generate ideas that might solve our problem. For this brainstorm we need to be as open and creative as possible. Anything goes until we've tested it.

Understandably, the creativity in this step is often limited by the commercial side of business. You can not go on brainstorming and testing forever.

In the last step, creativity comes in to explore the look and feel of the product. (Which also affects the potential of the design!)

Unless you get to decide, this step has other constraints like the client's corporate colours and typefaces.

In a perfect design process effectiveness and creativity are not opposites. Creativity is a way to get effective. That, crudely said, is what makes it design and not art.

Yet, perfect processes are hard to come by. And then striking the balance between creative and effective work depends on the real-life constraints (budget, time, technology, people, etc.) we have to work with.

Most projects expect great performing design with as little creativity possible. Which always leaves me with the 'what if?'.

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