I was designing a logo recently and was reminded of a lesson I was taught by an old teacher of mine. The lesson was to never fall in love with an idea. To the uninitiated, that basically means don’t get an idea stuck in your head because as soon as you do it stops you from moving to more sophisticated solutions. It’s a lesson I wasn’t thinking about as I wasted hours and hours developing a great logo design that was completely inconsiderate of the brand. Love of an idea often will have you hammering a square peg solution into a round hole problem.
What’s interesting too is that it doesn’t matter if the idea is a solution to a marketing problem, a Web page design, or a programming framework. When I started thinking about it, it’s a universal lesson of creative problem solving.
Love is not objective and makes for bad evaluation criteria. That’s true of many things (including ex-girlfriends). It’s something I try not to do, but have been guilty of from time to time. It happens when you have something that seems too clever to pass up. It may not solve the problem, but omg is it cool. Sure all ideas deserve some time to grow and develop, but it important to know when to move on.
The evolution of an idea is often more about finding a better solution to the problem than the one you have. However you look at it, if you’re solving a problem, it’s a process with an intended outcome that will be evaluated against the problem. Sometimes, I am amazed at how the most seemingly effortless solutions can be so obscure at first and take weeks to reach.
If you’re not careful an idea can be like can be like a siren luring you to certain doom. Sure, if we have an infinitive amount of time to play, then it wouldn’t matter. But time, money, and client expectations are the gods of the world we live in. Don’t like it? Well, they call them starving artists for a reason.
In the end, it’s always better to love creating ideas than an idea itself.