Creative Constraints Are Good For You

Creation Design
June 14, 2021
Reading Time: 3 mins

We all need constraints to operate effectively. In the world of creators, creative constraints allow us to focus our energy and concentration in the right place.

Without creative constraints, we become overwhelmed by all the potential choices and decisions we could make. We develop paralysis by analysis and become unable to do anything.

“True Freedom is Healthy Constraints” - Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative

Imagine This Scenario

Imagine this scenario:

You are about to start a new web project at work. Your boss hands you the project brief from the client.

It reads: “Build a good website”.

This leaves a lot to the imagination. It’s hard to know where to start.

Should you build an e-commerce site or a static site?

Should the website be red, or green, or blue?

How many pages should the website have?

Now imagine this scenario:

You’re starting a new web project at work.

Your boss hands you the project brief from the client.

It reads:

Now you can actually start doing your work:

Sure, this is a simplistic example, but it illustrates the point that creative constraints allow you to work more effectively.

Constraints show you where the goalposts are so you know where to aim your efforts.

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations” - Orson Welles

Applying Constraints

You can apply constraints to almost any part of your life to work with more focus:

Adding time constraints to your work will help you concentrate on each task for a defined period of time.

Practice building things using creative constraints to build your creativity muscle.

You can also add constraints to your daily life.

Design Insight

A newsletter about creativity and design. Each week I share insights from what I've been watching, reading, or listening to. Released every Friday at 5 pm GMT.

I'm Interested!