Basis of all Creativity

Cartoon of a man in a fetal position. He says to another, "I'm okay. This is just how I get creative."

In high school, I had a graphic design teacher that loved to spout adages. One of his favorites was, “limitation is the basis for all creativity.”

I’d love to know whether he made that up or if he got that quote from someone. I googled the phrase and nothing came up. There were a few lines that began with “limitation is the basis of…” but then it went into something altogether different.

At the time, I thought he was talking about the limits of design technology. Back then, a personal computer was a novelty. Anything you created had to be for the limits of the printing presses or silkscreen printing. High tech was anything that could be done in a dark room with film or Photostat paper.

Thirty years later, the phrase still rings true to me. When you are limited with your resources, you learn to use your creativity. If all you have is a paper bag, you can learn to make the most use of it.

Sometimes, I get stuck on what tools I have at my disposal. I think I can’t be creative unless I have the latest hardware or software upgrades. I must remind myself that if I face a limit, it’s a golden opportunity to use my creativity.

Have you ever faced a limitation that ended up giving you a creative boost? Feel free to post it in the comments.

Author: Kevin Spear

I am a marketing professional with a design flair, based in Clayton, Ohio. I specialize in digital and content marketing that increases brand awareness for small businesses and nonprofits.