What Does It Mean to Be Creative?

Art Supplies

UPDATED: October 19th, 2022
February 26th, 2021
WRITTEN: August 8th, 2017)

Are you ready to dive into the creative world, the mindset, and relationships? Let’s dip into the deets.

I’ve had the pleasure over the years to work with some extraordinarily talented people. Super creative, crazy smart, and really great people. The industry is loaded with talent and at Webfor, we’ve been looking for ways to redefine what it means to be “creative”.

It’s simple right? Creative people make sh*t! … wut?

In the digital space, we often tie “creativity” directly with pretty pictures, graphics, and color. Creative people tend to do a lot of creative things. Some might work as Web designers but then moonlight as a comic book artist. Some do a bunch of sick logos and when they go home, they’re slapping paint on canvas with their hands. Creative people don’t fit in a box because we’re just different. We do a lot, we fail a lot and sometimes we stop responding to emails for months on end while we figure out just how we’re going to draw a circle.

It can’t be a regular circle.

It’s gotta be weird.

It’s gotta look like a circle tho! 

Maybe we can squish it down a bit.

Increase that border.

…and we think about those things for days, weeks, months, and years before we even pick up the pencil. We’re a bit psychotic, riddled with attention disorders, and do some of the greatest things the world has ever seen.

Who am I? What am I supposed to do? Why can’t I be as good as …

The ever-disorienting question, “who am I” is just the worst, isn’t it? It’s just terrible……trust me I know because I’ve lived a life (almost 40 years old!) asking myself that very question almost every day. It can feel so loud in your head. Deafening.

You’re asking yourself this question because you know you have what it takes, but you’re worried about what others will think about you. The judgment of others, especially family, dictates how we move about in life and it’s not until we mature as humans that we realize we can do so much more.

You are you. Nobody knows your life, your dream, your goals, and your passion but you. Nobody will ever believe in you until you’ve already done it….read that again…

You need to show up every single day with the understanding that you’re not as good as you could be right now and the people around you will probably let you know. But accomplishing great things means losing. Kobe Byrant and Michael Jordan lost a lot of games in High School, College, and the NBA. But they took their experiences and grew. They pushed themselves beyond their limits and today, they are cemented in our minds as some of the greatest basketball players of all time.

They didn’t do that by blabbering on … they put in the work. They won championships and Olympic medals.

You can do it too. Ain’t nobody gonna hold you back. It’s you versus you.

….and with that, let’s dig into the real purpose of this post.

Creatives are graphic designers and stuff, right? Wrong.

What does it actually mean to be creative? According to Google, being “creative” is…

Relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

So let’s break that down a little further, “involving the imagination or … ideas.” Well, I’ve had those and so have you. Think back to when you were a kid running around with nerf guns, Barbie dolls, or hot wheels. You created your own world with toys using your imagination. We’re all imaginative at heart and as we get older that might fade, but that creativity is still in you somewhere.

… “especially…artistic work.” One could argue the definition of “artistic”, which is…

Having or revealing natural creative skill.

….well, this is interesting…

Is there an echo in here?

Okay, so if being creative means having an imagination and being artistic means having creative skills, I guess it comes down to the fundamental understanding that we are all creative. While you hover over creative friends pawning after their abilities, you must acknowledge that each person is intrinsically creative. It’s a piece of our encoded DNA.

You don’t need to be Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel to be “creative”. You might be a master of spreadsheets and to get there you need mathematical, programming, and other skills to bring it together. You’re creating. We’re all creating. We’re innovating and growing.

We’re creative.

At this point, you’re probably wondering where all this is going…I’m kinda wondering the same thing too … 🙂 because it’s 2:20 PM on a Wednesday and I’m listening to Aaron Draplin in the background presenting at Adobe Max.

Quick side step; ignore the haters and judgment.

If you’re a digital/physical designer of any kind then you’re well aware of the bias we face each day. First and foremost, stop comparing yourself to others. This is the quickest way to lose focus and motivation on your own work. You’re not BossLogic. You’re not Zack Snyder. You’re, you! Bring your style to life.

Grow, learn and adapt but never lose focus by trying to be someone you aren’t. Instead, empower yourself through the understanding that there is only one of “you” in this world. You are unique. Your talents are unique. Your creative mind is one of a kind.

Okay … side step objective, complete! Time to tie some stuff together!

You are surrounded by creative people!

If you work for an agency, or anywhere really, then chances are that you have a group of creative professionals around you. For Webfor that means designers, developers, client managers, content writers, and other specialists. The sooner you understand who those people are the sooner you can work towards incorporating their specific creative skills into the workplace, task, or project.

It’s not always possible, but you’re likely to get some of the best work you’ve ever seen when you include more people with alternate or opposing views.

If you get to a point where your team works autonomously and can incorporate their creative thinking into day-to-day activities, then you’ll be on a path of bringing out each person’s “best work.”

We love the “best work” because clients need it.

Creative content, by our definition, is a hard sell for clients. It’s likely a much longer format with repurposed elements like presentations, graphics, and documents. This means everything takes a lot more time to produce. The idea, however, is to deliver consistently at this level and draw more users to a website. One really great creative piece can do the work of 100 higher-churn pieces produced over 5 years.

Thinking strategically and creatively elevates your game. This is why I wish more agencies would operate and think at this level. Work to the strengths of your people and in return, you’ll get the creativity, results, and team engagement that you’re looking for.

Want more about this topic? Check out my recent podcast episode below.

As always, thank you for reading and I’ll see you again next time! If you wanna get in touch I’m on Instagram and Twitter @thewrightjason.