The Design Laws? Where’s the Fun in That?

I have been tagged by Vivienne of Versa Creations to write about this topic started by Marc Rapp over at Uniquely the Epitome and pursued by several of the “creative types” like Asgeir Holm and DT.

Not being a designer myself, I might not have much to contribute. But looking at all the laws that these creative people have come up with, makes me wonder – with so many laws, where then comes the creativity? But I realized one very interesting fact: without law, there is only chaos. Other than Picasso, I strongly doubt any client would pay for squiggles on their posters when they could have a nice, sharp product shot.

But laws are so constraining. Yet, they bring order and make things work. This is especially important in marketing. Sometimes, people say that to make marketing fun (here comes the creative law part), you have to break the laws; that is, think out of the box. I would like to propose a different take on this.

Law 1: True creativity takes place within the constraints of the laws.

Think about this. Anyone can go wild and come up with a zillion ideas.

“Let’s hang Barney upside down at the Mall and beg for people to buy 1 million copies of our CD… or Barney dies!”

Creative? Maybe. But seriously… Within the constraints of good taste, legal actions, warranties, consumer preference, targt markets, Mall policies and so on and so forth, do something creative. If you are able to wow the crowd, jaded by countless road shows, exhibitions, show booths, stage shows and other “mall gimmicks”; that’s being creative. Really creative.

Law #2: Nothing is impossible, we just don’t know how to do it yet.

In marketing, there are always wild ideas. These ideas might not be acceptable in its “raw” form (yes, even hanging Barney upside down), yet, it does not mean that it is impossible. I have seen a few so-called “impossible” things happen, both in projects by others and even in a few of my own projects. For example, one of our clients wanted to launch an online game. We did this in Malaysia. Our concept: get everyone in attendance dressed up in Chinese “period costumes”. This was deemed impossible by the client since reporters and VIP guests will never lower themselves to such cheap PR tricks. Our pitch – if we make this possible, we get the job? Long story short, we did.

Law #3: Don’t break the laws, surpass them.

If you want to be creative, don’t imagine that you can create good things by destroying other things. It is so much easier to destroy than to create. There are design laws. There are dress codes. There are laws governing colors. So many laws, so many opportunities. This is not hot air. I can name you an entire industry that has “surpassed” the laws, left them all in the dust. Have you heard of “WiFi”? Sure you have. Did you also know that almost no country has laws dealing with that particular area of technology? At least, up to last year, most countries were still struggling to figure out what to do, and how to do it. Unlike TV Broadcasts, fixed line telephones, mobile phones under GSM, PCN and what-not’s, there was no regulation. Imagine that. Try that with Marketing.

Hopefully, this added something to all of you, especially the non-marketers. But just in case this is rubbish, let me pass you to some others who would certainly have really clever things to say:

[tags]design, design laws, creative thinking[/tags]

6 Replies to “The Design Laws? Where’s the Fun in That?”

  1. You are quite right, creativity does not exist in a vacuum. There is no such thing as total freedom. Even artists have to deal with the constraints of the medium like clay or paint on canvas.

    Please keep intouch.

  2. These are really great. Everyone’s has been great. I have some catching up to do this weekend.

    Thank you for your contribution! Really great–ahem, laws. :)

  3. Calvin,
    Good post! Considering your first law, you’re in good company. Creative gurus like Edward de Bono have argued that not only does true creativity happen within constraints, but the brain -need- constraints to be creative. That is why to “write a song” often is more difficult than to “write a song with the words ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ in the title”.

    Thanks for the mention! You’ve got a lot of interesting posts.

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