Thursday, June 14, 2012

Christoph Niemann on Visual Communication and Designers' Neuroses

I've gushed about Christoph Niemann's work and his New York Times blog-turned-book, Abstract City, several times in the past so I was happy to stumble upon a short video of Niemann on Brain Pickings yesterday. Gestalten, a publisher and website that focuses on visual culture, sat down with the illustrator to talk about design, visual communication, and the minor neuroses that run through the creative world. Two quotes that I loved from his chat:

"Every designer who spends a good deal of the day thinking about 10 percent magenta or five percent cyan and line thicknesses, you have to become neurotic eventually. It's more or less inevitable," he says. "I often think about all I'm doing is just virtual. I don't fix the problem, I just sit there, think about ideas and whether someone who's 5,000 miles away would understand this. And this is a scary proposition and I think my greatest accomplishment professionally is that I haven't gone insane doing what I do all day."

Now I'm no graphic designer, but I understand how that attention to detail can consume a creative person and can either be a driving force to greatness or present itself as a giant brick wall if you let it.

"When I left NY last year, one of the big reasons professionally for me was I wanted to try new things," Neimann says about his family's move back to Berlin, Germany. "And also try new things that included the chance of failure, of just doing something where I had no idea what the outcome was."

Fear of failure is another threat to success, but what if instead of using failure as an excuse to not do something we accept that possibility and move forward anyway. Seeking out new opportunities despite the chance that you might stumble on the way there sounds scary, but liberating at the same time. Better to work with it than let it fight against you.

P.S. If you want more, check out Niemann's Creative Mornings lecture from last year.

1 comment :

  1. Failure is not merely possible, it is inevitable. Plan accordingly.


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