Saturday, 4 August 2012

Simon Says: Creativity is Imagination

"A lot of the time people don't know what they want until you show it to them" - Steve Jobs

That quote entered my world when Simon Wood, production designer on the computer game L.A. Noire, spoke at a BAFTA event earlier this week. More on that here

Simon had a lot of things to say about Creativity and Design, so I thought I would share some of those insights with you.

Simon Says:

  • The primary requirement for creativity is Imagination.
  • Generic Art appeals to no one, Specific Art gets opinions (even if those are negative opinions)
  • Art Direction is about creating emotions, eg. comfort, familiarity, discomfort, fear.
  • Justify everything. Things you see are there for a reason - they have been placed, dropped, they have fallen or crumbled...
  • Always as Why Why Why. Simon used the example of a Spoon - if someone tells you to build a spoon, you should come up with at least 21 questions immediately such as "is it a metal or a wooden spoon? old or new? a clue? engraved or plain? has it got food on it and if so what food?" etc
  • "People look but they don't see". Simon showed us a few photographs - one flipped, one with the "no entry" street sign facing the wrong way - and pointed out how it's important to see the details.
  • If you want a job from Simon, you have a whole 15 seconds to grab his attention with your portfolio. And apparently this can be done by "thinking differently". Do something unusual. Add a twist to familiar design. Draw a straight line in the air with your finger (do it, now) - did you draw vertical or horizontal? Lines can go any direction.
  • You can do whatever you want as long as a) it fills the brief, b) it's justified, c) it works.
  • Be wary when people tell you your work is good - be your own harshest critic.
Simon ended his entertaining and insightful talk with an inspirational quote from Joan of Arc - 

"I am not afraid, I was born to do this."

You can see a video of Simon answering BIG QUESTIONS here on the BAFTA Guru Website.