Ever since launching ARKA in 2009, my mind has been a tornado of thoughts, in a never ending whirlwind of design ideas, business decisions and daily problem solving. So I began to write everything down. I mean EVERYTHING. Smart phones make this very convenient for me. I used to carry a notepad at all times but now I organize all my thoughts on my phone, my iPad and my laptop. Any design idea I stumble upon, I write down. No matter how stupid it sounds I still write it. Simply because, I truly believe that a bad or average idea can brew a good or great idea. Luckily I have Hauk Vagner and Charles Darwizard to consult with and bounce my thoughts off of. Usually this is what helps shape an idea into reality. However with designing , there are some challenges that are a little different than other occupations. There are some days where I simply don't have 'it.' Sometimes this will last for more than a few days. All my designs start like this:
This is my blank canvas. I need to make this into something that people will want to wear. There really isn't a formula for what we do. We simply make things that we think are appealing. There are no numbers you can input, there is no rule dictating what works and what doesn't. The funny thing is, what may work for some brands wont work for others.
Recently, I had a bit of designer's block. Its not that I wasn't able to create anything, the issue was that I wasn't making things I was happy with. So I would scrap the idea and start over. The problem with this is that we have deadlines to meet. Our trade shows don't wait for us to finish our line for that season. We need to get our samples done in enough time for our sales reps to start shopping the line to our stores.
Now my focus was to get out of my funk. Step one was to step away from my computer. I felt like staring at my computer was only a reminder of how sucky I was feeling. Step two, start reading books. I'm not talking about design books, I'm referring to books about random facts, scientific theory and sociology: things that don't directly have a correlation with design, but will exercise your brain. It's similar to training your brain to think. My goal was also to be able to visualize my thoughts into something tangible. Next step was to start watching and reading the news. Knowing about current affairs is important. You will be aware of what will relate to the general public. They say the best comedians are the ones that can articulate a story that the audience can easily relate to. I need to make sure that the message I convey in my designs is understood by the viewer. They need to get 'it.' Lastly, try to find other creative outlets. Personally, I like to build things, mostly furniture. It helps me feel like I'm being productive and it motivates me to continue being creative.
Anyone in the design industry will run into road blocks, the key is to realize that you will eventually create something. The best and worst characteristic of our business it that there are no boundaries. Essentially you can make whatever you want, but the goal is to be content with the end product.