Pat Fallon once told me (not just me, of course, I was but a little fish – he told a group of people that I happened to be a part of) that the key to retaining your creativity is to keep do creative things that have nothing to do with selling. The idea was that it was not only refreshing to get your mind off of, say, the headline about “more taste” that you’re trying to rewrite over and over and over, but that your creativity got you interested in different things and that those different things positively affected your creative abilities.
After hearing this those years ago, I immediately went to the Minnesota State Fair (jingle: our state fair is the best state fair in the state).
I don’t know if it made me any more creative, but it was certainly refreshingly different. I also saw a pig that weighed over 1,000 pounds (it is far cooler than it sounds).
Massive pigs aside, all creatives need some sort of an outlet for their creativity to grow outside of the constraints of a brief, a target consumer and the need to sell something. A group of Minneapolis-based designers have answered their need with a design collective called redblackbrown that acts as a creative outlet:
The collective is made up of six designers who work at agencies in Minneapolis, including interactive designer Zara Gonzalez who works at Periscope and had some time to talk to the Daily Biz.
DB: You’re busy enough at work, why put in the time to get redblackbrown off of the ground?
Zara: We needed a creative outlet outside of work. Work is great and everything, but there is something to be said about being able to do things just for the pure fun of it. You know, being creative just because we are creative people not because we’re trying to sell natural fruit juice to moms in the 35-49 category.
DB: Moving incremental product for Mastercraft and Papa John’s was getting you down?
Zara: Not getting me down, but it’s easy to get burnt out always trying to pervert your creativity for commercial use.Here we’re just doing whatever we want and putting it out there. At least that was what prompted us to start it. We have some lofty goals though.
DB: What is redblackbrown besides creative catharsis?
Zara: Ideally we want what we are doing both to inspire and motivate us on a personal level, but also we want to reach out to the minneapolis design community and inspire and engage them as well. Right now we’re just releasing prints every fewmonths and keeping our design/inspiration blog, which has mostly been inspiration we find on the web, but we have plans to do studio tours and interviews with people around town as well as (once we find some space of our own) host things like screenprinting demos or just random things we think other people would find interesting.
redblackbrown’s blog is reminiscent of FFFFOUND! in that it showcases interesting and inspiring design ideas as well as other stuff that is random, but good. The collective does add a bit of commentary, which is nice.
And, as far as creative outlets go, it sure beats staring at fat pigs…