A long time ago I fell in love with Rollo May; he is a genius, and he loves design. Unfortunately, he’s dead.
He did however leave us a small gift, his book, The Courage to Create. It isn’t especially well known, certainly not in the design industry, but it is especially relevant to our creative community. In it, Rollo speaks about a little something (the whole premise of the book really) he calls ‘creative courage,’ or “the discovery of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built.” He also implies that designers are the most dangerous rebels on the face of the earth. Fact.
These days when we read about design, when we attend conferences etc., the topics often center on process and approach, on new methods, efficiencies, and sustainable materials…what we rarely come across are topics that speak to the more brazen side of design; designers are rebels with a cause, why isn’t anyone talking about that? That fact that we’re responsible for shaping the structure of our new world is just as interesting, if not more so, than how we’re actually going to do it, or how we might do it, or with what materials for that matter. Somewhere down the line, the bits and pieces became more important than the whole. I get it, it’s kind of a big burden to shoulder, and depending on what you do in design, you might not feel like you’re changing the world, say one mobile phone at a time, but you are, and thanks by the way.
Design isn’t often linked to bravery, but it is, above all things, brave. It takes an incredible amount of courage to suggest new ways of seeing reality, to challenge the status quo. I, like Rollo, appreciate and admire creative courage. I also hope to hear more about it from our industry leaders and critics.
Wanna learn more about creative courage? Wanna get inspired? Got nothing better to do? Try reading The Courage to Create.