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The joy of designing something.

You get what you give.

What does it take to be creative? When I was a Visual Communications Student at AAA School of Advertising in 2009 my approach to the design process was completely different to what it is now.

Bringing ideas to life began slightly more manually than it does these days. And although starting the creative process with good old-fashioned pen and paper still holds a unique charm, today’s creative spaces are so fast paced that it’s not exactly feasible anymore. Today we have access to a myriad of tools, and I’ve learnt the importance of embracing the opportunities that technology and AI give us.

Whether it’s designing a logo, Corporate Identity, or even envisioning a whole campaign, nothing beats the joy of starting with a blank canvas and transforming it into something tangible. Designers should see an empty canvas waiting to be filled with ideas as an invitation to explore boundless possibilities.

But we’re not just creating pretty pictures here. As the Content Director at Here Near Next, my team and I are often faced with requests from clients that seem complicated and vague. Yet a challenge even bigger than deciphering a brief, is the moment where the designer must set aside any preconceived ideas and embrace the freedom to think beyond conventional boundaries, while still carefully considering the constraints of the brief. Once you find that brilliant solution within the client’s scope, you experience an incredible sense of fulfillment. 

Another joy of designing from scratch is simply adding your personal touch to whatever you create. Every decision, from colour choices to material selection, reflects your personality and vision. It’s a chance to show your unique perspective to the world, making the creation a personal statement that goes hand in hand with its functionality.

But the design process is also collaborative. It involves a dialogue between the creator and the medium, whether it’s pen, code, Illustrator, or any other material. As the design evolves, it often takes unexpected turns, presenting challenges that require creative problem-solving. This process of trial and error is not only a testament to resilience but also an opportunity for continuous improvement. The joy of designing something is definitely not just in the finished product but in the lessons learned and the growth experienced throughout the journey.

During the process, the designer must be open to explore unconventional ideas and test new technologies. This is how creatives push boundaries, and I personally think that the joys are intertwined with the thrill of contributing to the ever-evolving tapestry of human progress.

Thinking back to where I started, I feel that technology has simply given me a bigger set of tools. The process is the same, but the medium has changed. So what does it really take to foster creativity? You need to be open minded, flexible and disciplined. But above all, you need to completely commit to constantly finding new ways to express your ideas.

Elsje Gildenhuys
Elsje Gildenhuys
As co-founder and Content Director, Elsje is passionate about creating visual concepts that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. She has extensive brand and content design experience serving global businesses. Elsje is a mother of two, and thanks to her nurturing personality and exceptional organisational skills, taking ownership of operations comes naturally.

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