“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” — Charles Mingus
Definitions of creativity and the cognitive process are subjective, with historical perspectives varying from existentialism to industrialisation. Depending on what side of the fence you sit, can influence whether you believe that creativity can be measured and mapped and to what ends.
A prevailing theory by Graham Wallas in The Art of Thought (1926) whittles the process down to four key stages: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. A recent definition by academic Michael Munford (2003) states: “Over the course of the last decade, however, we seem to have reached a general agreement that creativity involves the production of novel, useful products.” Rather ironically, this analysis of creativity sits at odds with many individuals who class themselves somewhere along the ‘creative’ spectrum.
For a more existential perspective on the creative process, legendary designer, artist and educator Bruno Munari’s take on creativity stems from a belief in the purposefulness of art and design informed by a sense of humanity and playfulness.
Working from this perspective and the frustrating limitations of perfectionism, designer Julia Troubetskaia produced a self-initiated project — Creative Devices: “Inspired by the ideas of late designer and artist… [Creative Devices] is divided into three parts: the methods, the ideas, and the devices. Each section represents a step in the creative process and is meant to guide the artist or designer out of creative stagnation. It is also to be used as a journal and the gratuitous white space in the layouts functions as room for the reader to make notes, doodle, and document thoughts.”
Since discovering Bruno Munari’s work and approach, Julia hasn’t looked back: “[I] was completely enamoured with his approach to art, design and creativity in general. His work could be playful but still interesting and intelligent. It changed the way I looked at a lot of things in my own practice.”
Creative Devices has resulted in Julia’s own toolkit to help out when she is in a creative quandary or just to serve as a reminder that creativity can and should be fun.