The day graphic design died
As astounding, ridiculous, and uninspiring as this is…it’s a must-read for creative people everywhere. Soak it in, and make sure you are never treated this way.
I am not sure what Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s damage is.
This is an article he wrote on the Harvard Business Review, which if you’re unfamiliar is a premiere business magazine. Prestigious, well-recognized, and highly regarded…at least until now.
The content of this article is appalling. Creatives everywhere are calling it condescending, arrogant, blind, shortsighted…the list goes on. I’ll just let you go read it for yourself so you can understand why. Or, you can check out some of the gems below:
Moody, erratic, eccentric, and arrogant? Perhaps — but you can’t just get rid of them.
Yes, creative people are everywhere…we’re like a plague.
Spoil them and let them fail: Like parents who celebrate their children’s mess: show your creatives unconditional support and encourage them to do the absurd and fail.
This is almost true…it’s on the verge of being true. Unfortunately, Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic doesn’t say anything about when an artist tries something and it works. Obviously because that never happens.
Surround them by semi-boring people: The worst thing you can do to a creative employee is to force them to work with someone like them — they would compete for ideas, brainstorm eternally, or simply ignore each other. That said, you cannot surround creatives with really boring or conventional people — they would not understand them, and fall out.
Ironically, Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic follows this logic later with “Few things are as aggravating to creatives as boredom”, so I’m not sure how he reconciles that. Perhaps it’s due to:
…the bipolar temperament of creative artists…
Oh right, I forgot about that. ‘Nuff said.
As novelist John Irving said, “the reason I can work so hard at my writing is that it’s not work for me”.
Yes, because as everyone knows artists don’t actually do any work that’s ever challenging, difficult, or skillful. We just play with crayons all day.
If you like structure, order and predictability, you are probably not creative.
This beautifully crafted (and I’m sure well-researched) assumption simply stands on it’s own. As a bonus, Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic reinforces his point by talking about the proper way to manage Don Draper. From Madmen. A fictional character. ….Yeah.
This one is probably the jewel of the collection:
Pay them poorlyDon’t overpay them
I am forced to point out that the editor made this particular “rule’s” change from “Pay them poorly,” because “This is clearly a controversial point.” No kidding. Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic’s rule that creative people should be paid poorly stems from this “research”:
The more you pay people to do what they love, the less they will love it. In the words of Czikszentmihalyi, “the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.”
Because as well all know, when someone is truly creative, not just pretending to be (like all you organizers over there who like stuff like structure and predictability), then gold and jewels fall from the sky, so we don’t have to worry about finding a good job in order to pay for things like mortgages and student loans and putting food on the table for our families. Goodness no, I don’t know any artist who prefers to get paid for their work - that would be against the code!
Indeed, creative people are prewired to seek constant change, even when it’s counterproductive. They take a different route to work every day, even if it gets them lost, and never repeat an order at a restaurant, even if they really liked it.
I’m just…I can’t…*sigh*. The fact that he uses “never” is what blows me away about this statement.
Creatives love complexity and enjoy making simple things complex rather than vice-versa. Instead of looking for the answer to a problem, they prefer to find a million answers or a million problems.
That’s funny, I always thought that good design was about making complex things simple. The same with story and marketing…I guess I’ve been wrong all these years. The next time I’m faced with a complex idea that needs to be communicated with an audience, I’ll make sure to enhance its complexity to the point that even aliens visiting in 1000 years won’t be able to even begin comprehending the labyrinthine corners of my mind. It will be the BEST. DESIGN. EVER.
A final caveat: even when you are able to manage your creative employees, it does not mean that you should let them manage others. In fact, natural innovators are rarely gifted with leadership skills… Research confirms the stereotypical view that corporate innovators — intrapreneurs — exhibit many of the psychopathic characteristics that prevent them from being effective leaders: they are rebellious, anti-social, self-centered and often too low in empathy to care about the welfare of others. But manage them well, and their inventions will delight us all.
Let me just repeat that stirring conclusion for you all, so you can fully absorb and appreciate it:
“Research confirms the stereotypical view that corporate innovators — intrapreneurs — exhibit many of the psychopathic characteristics that prevent them from being effective leaders: they are rebellious, anti-social, self-centered and often too low in empathy to care about the welfare of others. But manage them well, and their inventions will delight us all.”
Keep that in mind, self-proclaimed creative people everywhere. If you have empathy for your fellow humans, care about others, are social, enjoy being around other artists, like to order the same thing at a restaurant more than once, try to be productive, think design is about simplicity and elegance, prefer to get paid for your work or even consider it to be work in the first place…then you are not a creative person.
HBR ended up changing the title of this article from “Seven Rules for Managing Creative People” to “Seven Rules for Managing Creative-But-Difficult People,” because “its intent is to discuss a small subset of people who happen to be both creative and difficult to work with; not to imply that all creative people are difficult. We regret the error.”
Thanks for the clarification HBR, but the damage has been done.
Holy fuck. No wonder we creatives can’t often get any traction or respect when attitudes like this exist.
If you can’t pledge, a signal boost would help.
This really is worth your attention and a few shekels.
This legendary punk rocker sounds like a cranky old man. He’s OK with that.
Peskimo + Poketo + Adventure Time
Heres the second of our Adventure Time wallets for Poketo.
This design is all about adventure and the prospect of starting out on a new epic quest with friends. Hot air balloons are a familiar sight here in Bristol, where we live, so we loved the idea of Jake using his powers to become one!
You can see all 7 of the Adventure Time wallets (including a design by show creator Pendleton Ward) and pick them up online from Poketo’s website
Check it, Joe P!