Useless Projects: Catalyst for Creative Ideas
A project that started with a quote by design icon Charles Eames: "My dream is to have people working on useless projects. These have the germ of new concepts."
As a designer and branding guy I typically have to move within the constraints and guidelines of a project. Which is good and helpful to create a cohesive and compelling campaign or brand identity and to stay on target. However, it often cuts short the creative potential. Having had a discussion with other designers about this problem, I started to encourage myself and my peers to kick off this creative incubator "Useless Projects" as a side project. I believe, the fewer constraints we are exposed to, the less compromised artwork can be. This may not be commercially viable instantly, but that's not the purpose.
I want something that has the potential to bleed into future concepts, I want to create a platform, an incubator that allows designers to show not what is but what could be. This also creates space to experiment with styles and elements one would typically not consider in corporate communications. Raw, unfiltered, experimental, crazy, provocative. Useless Projects - maybe not so useless after all. -- Marc Posch
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Interview with Marc Posch: About the Useless Projects Concept
BARMAKB: Marc, tell me why you draw such inspiration from this quote by Charles Eames?
MARC POSCH: Before we look at a useless project, let’s take a few minutes and have a look at a "useful" project. The designer’s creative potential often sits buried and benign like a hydrogen atom as compromises and decisions by committee govern the client/creative relationships. Many of the ideas that do spark excitement within the designer are ground down by these forces. This is a typical "useful" project.
BARMAKB: And useless projects?
MARC POSCH: On the other hand, useless projects allow a designer to kick around that hydrogen atom and to work on ideas that are distant from the world of commerce and absent are the pressures that necessitate compromise. When liberating oneself from these pressures a designer’s genius can once again raise to the surface. Over time, these seemingly useless projects lead to new ways of thinking about design and help the growth of the individual designer on both a “practical and metaphysical” level as writer Maria Popova would say, and, ultimately, present and future client will see the benefit from the designer’s exploration.
BARMAKB: Can you give me an example?
MARC POSCH: In the past, Google has encouraged their employees utilize a portion of their work schedule to take on passion projects. These were not any restrictions mandating these projects to pursue the strategic goals of Google. One of the things that came out of this is perhaps the most utilized app outside of their search engine: Gmail.
"Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” – Seth Godin
BARMAKB: You’ve also become a strong proponent for designers to take this journey by encouraging them to undertake useless projects.
MARC POSCH: Absolutely. I want to push myself, and I want to push other designers. Somewhat selfishly, I want to be inspired by other designers, to see what they’re capable of without the parameters of a client/creative relationship. I want to be wowed.
BARMAKB: It seems you wish to tap into the source that made you first fall in love with design, and, in a sense, the feeling that was present when one was studying design in school.
MARC POSCH: I feel one always has to return to the source. It’s where one reenergizes, remembers why one loves what one does. It’s where the freedom is. School had that quality, yes, but so does the real world.
Working on useless projects gets me back to the source, and, ultimately, this work allows me to better service my client when I return to the client/creative relationship.
(Interview was conducted by Barmak Behdadnia, Journalist in Los Angeles. He can be reached here)
“[Art...] It's not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human. Art is not in the ...eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist.” – Seth Godin
"My M.O. became about trying stuff and not worrying about the grid or the structure until I have a feeling for what I’m doing. Then you tidy it up after. If you start off tidy, it’s really hard to get messy." – April Greiman
To learn more about Useless Projects or if wish to participate please contact us.