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Square Apples and Buddha Peaches

Creativity is endless. Any given project could go on forever. You have to decide when to start and when to stop. This is a responsibility we have as creatives.

For those of us who struggle with our self decepline when it comes to creative boundaries, it can be such a torment taking projects in different directions. There are endless possibilities you can take. If you're anything like me, you get paralysed with the thought of this and struggle to even start. It's all about setting artificial limitations.

This is a topic I think about a lot. I wonder about ways of combatting the sense of overwhelming spiral of overthinking chaos when tackling a project. A lot of this also depends on the nature of the work. If it's a personal project - like most of mine are - then you might not want to set a deadline. Maybe it's how you unwind, or just have fun creating and a deadline would feel too strict. If this is the case just know that it might take a while for this project to be completed.

I came across this article a few months ago by National Geographic which I really thinks help communicate this topic. It's about a Fruit Mold company in China that help people grow produce in interesting forms and shapes. While the fruit is growing on a tree and is still small, you can use one of their plastic moulds to surround it. As it grows it slowly forms into whatever shape the mould is in. There are physical boundaries placed around the space of the hopeful fruit so that when it grows it forms to a desired shape.

Disclosure - below are pears in the shape of Buddha, not peaches! But doesn't it sound more poetic too use peaches?

I find something so beautifully poetic about this. Boundaries are being chosen and set to allow something to grow into itself. Every project is different. A completely different mould, ready for a totally unique outcome. When you're setting these limitations, whether it be for a personal project or maybe a project at your place of work, it can be super helpful to name them. Just so your head doesn't explode from abstract thinking. Below are some examples of artificial limitations that I like to think about and apply.

Artificial Boundaries:

- Deadline

- Time Limit [you have 5 minutes to sketch this]

- Medium [photography, design, illustration, typography...]

- Art Style/Aesthetic [minimalism/pixel art/abstract...]

- Only use Typography

- One Line Drawing

Some of these lean a bit more into pre-made decisions rather than boundaries. Or is there even a difference? Food for thought...These are only a few examples and there are so many subcategories to them as well! I'm yet to create a much bigger list as they can be really hard to narrow down and articulate in words.

"Ironic isn't it. We talk about 'thinking outside the box' when in reality sometimes we need to build the box."

It's one thing to set yourself a boundary (like a time limit. It's another thing to keep to it. This is where accountability comes in. Remember - no man is an island. Get a friend/fellow designer to remind you and encourage you to finish to that deadline.

Some projects maybe don't need a deadline though. I have many many projects that I pick up in my down time but I know for sure may take months or even years to finish and I'm okay with that. Sometimes that is just reality and however intentional you are about it you just don't feel to pressure to publish it in haste. Think sustainability - a little bit everyday (5mins maybe) rather than a few hours a week. Don't burn out baby!

I follow the designer Mitch Goldstein on twitter and when I saw this, I knew I had to say something...

A short interaction I had with Mitch Goldstein, a design from New York, on twitter.


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