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Beakers with a pencil

Starting next week, I’ll launch the first of many posts about creativity in non-creative industries. It’s a topic that has continued to come up my whole life, and most specifically when people are first introduced to my wife. She’s a scientist, an immunologist to be more specific, and I’m a graphic designer, or creative to be less specific. More often than not people immediately ask what our conversations are like with her being left brain and me being right brain. The assumption is based on the misconception that science involves math, theory and reasoning (non-creativity), and that graphic design involves drawing, painting and brainstorming (creativity). Honestly, we’re a little of both. Designing an experiment follows the same process as designing a logo, we just use different tools and have different outcomes. In other words, we both use facts and strategy to define the problem, and we use imagination to test a solution.

I’ve had a long-standing hypothesis that everyone is creative, and we all use that creativity everyday to solve the problems in our life whether that be at work, home or anywhere in-between. To test my theory, I’ve interviewed people mainly outside the traditionally creative industries to see how they define their creativity. I’ve also interviewed a few people in creative industries as a control. An interesting trend started coming out as I conducted the interviews. People either asked, “Why would you interview me? I’m not creative. I’m just a ________,” or they would ask, “Did you pick me, because you know that I like to paint, draw or play music?”Creativity is being able to imagine while having the courage to act.

One of the main questions that I’ve asked in all of my interviews is “How do you personally define creativity?” The answers are truly amazing and more varied than I ever expected. So, I’d like to start this new series off with how I define creativity.

From day to day, I use my imagination to think of ideas and solutions for clients and myself, but if I didn’t use analytical thinking, processes and a touch of obsessive compulsive behavior then the solutions would never come to life. While I don’t deny my job is creative, I also understand that it isn’t always so. Just as my job and life are sometimes creative, I’m convinced that the same is true for all of us.

Over the course of the next year, I’ll be posting these interviews, and I encourage you to ask myself and the interviewees questions. Check back soon for the first in a series of interviews. My first guest is the wonderfully, brilliant Jeni Herberger.

Like what you see feel free to email me at tad@creativesquall.com and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall site to see how we’ve put imagination in action.

2010 Rewind books featuring the work of Creative SquallI thought with all of the year end wrap ups, best ofs and recaps that I’d join in on the fun and celebrate what has been an awesome year for Creative Squall. True it’s a little “pat yourself on the back,” but as my friend Jeff Fisher says “If you don’t toot your own horn, who will?” Honestly, while I’m proud of the achievements from 2010, I know that I couldn’t have done it without the great group of clients, friends, family and the inspiration that I get from the design industry that I’m happy to be a part of everyday.

I didn’t write the book on design, but I was fortunate enough to be included

This year marked the first year that I made a concerted effort to actually enter work into design competitions like the The Addy’s as well as submit work for publication. With the results, I’m not quite sure of why I waited almost 15 years to do so. Here’s the list in case you were wondering.

In addition, a wedding invitation design package was featured in May 2010 Issue of HOW magazine for the article titled “You’re Invited” on pg. 74 about paper selection for wedding invitation design. As a long time reader of HOW, I think this was the biggest moment for me all year. The same invitation design was featured on the Finch Paper blog, and appeared in 1000 More Greetings.

I had to draw the line somewhere

Mountain GoatsI completed the year long sketch of the day project in late July which helped me hone my drawing skills, let go of my need to polish everything and reminded me again of just how important music is in my life. If you aren’t familiar with the project, you can see what it’s about here and see what I spent an hour of my day on for over a year. I’ve just finished laying out the book version which includes some finished poster designs. You didn’t think I could let 366 sketches sit unpolished forever did you? I’m hoping to send the book to print in the next couple of weeks which will eventually be on sale at Blurb books. I’ll be posting more info soon.

Tweeting’s great, but talking’s better

I jumped on the Twitter wave in late 2009, and instantly made some great friendships — note I didn’t say connections. I had an opportunity at the HOW design conference in June to meet many of my Twitter friends in person for the first time. It really drove home how important it is to not only connect with people through social media, but make friends offline as well. Jamie Saunders from Neenah Paper has easily become one of my favorite people that I met this way. She introduced me to Jeni Herberger, Steve Gordon of RDQLUS Creative, Jeff Fisher of LogoMotives all of whom I have been following on Twitter and admiring their work for sometime. Jamie and Jeff were nice enough to drop some paper knowledge for “The Paper Cuts Series” on the Squall Line. Jeni and Steve are helping me out with my next blog project about creativity in non-traditional creative jobs which will be starting early next year. Don’t worry I’ll post details soon! But more importantly, I hope to meet many of you in person in 2011.

Next year will go to 11

From everything that I’ve seen and heard over the last few months, I think we’re all in for a big 2011. I hope to keep building on what started for me 2 years ago when I was laid off. So, pop open the champagne and join me in a toast.

Here’s to more awards, strong partnerships, and great friends — past, present and future.

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