We have our habits—good or bad. As humans we are pattern seekers as well as pattern behaving creatures. We are slaves to our habits. After all, we need predictability in our lives in order to survive as a species. We need to know that certain actions cause certain results—when we are hungry, we find something to eat. It’s all about patterns and habits. These are hardwired into our brains from repeated actions and results from child to adult.

Hardwiring consists of physical neural connections. Because of this hardwiring aspect of habits, it becomes very hard to break those habits. The more we do a habit, the more our body reacts in the same way. This is why addictions are so hard to break.

When I look for new forms to keep my design solutions fresh, I’m constantly drawing the same things—my own hardwiring at work. It’s my addiction I strive to break every day of my design life.

To overcome this, I have to create a new neural connection—a new addiction. Maybe I use a new pencil, pen (or stylus), or paper (or iPad). I can’t break an old habit, so I have to replace it with a new one. I have to create a new neural connection. Maybe I’ll start drawing with my off hand. Or, to really go conceptual, maybe we redefine what drawing is. That’s another topic.

That old adage, you can’t teach an old dog a new trick has some physiological truth. Old habits do die hard. But, we can create new ones. It’s time we trick our brains and “Think Different.”


Music and Creativity


In my design classes I always make it a point to play music when I’m not lecturing. The human brain needs stimuli in order for it to function. Whether it’s popular music or out of a person’s normal listening genre, music carries with it repetition, harmony, and the occasional interruption — shock therapy for the unsuspecting.

Design has an intrinsic relationship to music. They both have an interwoven capability of enhancing our senses. If we listen we can visualize and if we visualize we can create. I find it interesting how waveforms generated by music and sound amplifies our visual capabilities. Sound waves are energy that have resonance for those that are open to it.

We all are touched by music — we listen to it or we play it. Design and music seek to communicate and they help to fuel our emotions. So if you’re in a design rut, put on some Slipknot and I guarantee you’ll visualize something new!!!