How Do You Define Creative Flow?
The term “flow” could mean anything in relation to graphic design. It could epitomize having a harmonious experience,managing your time extremely well, accruing experience to the point of automating your process, or having a professional relationship that “just seems easy.” I know that I’m missing something in that string of thoughts, but you get the point. Each moment has a steady pace, or a “flow.”
Iâ€™ve also known the term â€œflowâ€ as â€œbeing in the zone,â€ which started during my young adolescence in sports. However, I realized that I rarely experienced â€œbeing in the zone,â€ athletically. I’m an average athlete at best with terrible balance and above average coordination. For this post, flow as it is defined, relates more about my own experience. Allow me to explain how I experience â€œbeing in the zoneâ€â€¦
Creatively, Iâ€™ve experienced the â€œflowâ€ and rarely have I experienced its intensity. When it happens at an intense state, it typically occurs on my terms yet is likely influenced by many other external factors (unconsciously). If Iâ€™m â€œin the zoneâ€ itâ€™s not often initiated in order to meet a deadline. Meeting a deadline helps me to stay on task, yet rarely motivates me to find personal gratifaction. Finding the â€œflowâ€ doesnâ€™t occur for me when fulfilling someoneâ€™s idea or if persuaded by monetary incentive. I don’t always need an “atta boy” although recognition is needed once in a while. “Flow” is buried deep within myself at the time that it occurs. It’s something that I realize that Iâ€™ve long been passionate about, but perhaps never fully understood why, nor had dedicated quality time in order to explore. It could also be a moment when I visualize something that no one may see, but that hasn’t happened for a while.
“Flow” can also occur when I find myself highly emotional during the creative process, at the point of crying out of joy or because of reaching a point of where I wanted to be. It may not necessarily occur because of how well I executed something, but rather how I reached the point of realization. This type of intensity with feeling the â€œflowâ€ during a project, has always been 100% on my terms and no one else. Often, I can get there if I don’t consider what everyone else is saying, which is not the way I like to think of myself. It starts with me, involves everything else during the process, but almost always ends with me. I believe that itâ€™s not the only way for me to experience â€œflowâ€ and honestly, I need more experience in order to better understand it.
Ultimately, itâ€™s difficult to categorize â€œflow.â€ I donâ€™t see it as something that occurs very often, nor do I expect it to always occur. Itâ€™s special. Perhaps it’s a moment that occurs due to several accumulated hours, days or years dedicated to one specific task: exploration. It may occur because of putting off or suppressing a genuine desire to explore whatever it is you want to create, which can force exploration. When I first experienced an intense moment of â€œbeing in the zoneâ€ I started to shake and cry. I also didnâ€™t realize what just happened. I thought that I was mentally unstable. I also didnâ€™t realize that I had stayed up until 4AM on a work night because of it, but that I felt like I was wide awake.
How I might be able to define â€œflowâ€ in graphic design is: Discovering how to exactly convey a visual image, concept or solution and to translate it. Exactly. Not 99.9%, â€œalmost thereâ€ or â€œI’m so close, but it’s missing something,â€ but exactly, without any doubt. For that reason alone, I think that experiencing â€œthe zoneâ€ or â€œthe flowâ€ is special. Flow can definitely derive from inspiration. Inspiration often leads to excitement and renewed hope for personal discovery. Inspiration also serves as an example for researching further into how or why I have been inspired. Collaboration can also attribute with finding flow, but experiencing flow has to be on my own terms. At some point I need to figure out whatever it is I want to find without further input.