Stefani Wilkens
Stefani Wilkens | Graphic Designer

journal

Get Out of the Studio

Your work can only ever be as dimensional as your life.

These words, spoken by one of my senior project professors, have stuck with me. At the time, my life consisted of late nights and early mornings in the studio, with not much else in between. I love design, and those long days spent pouring over projects were the exact opposite of torturous. However, it wasn’t until I heard those words that I realized my dedication to my work might actually be holding me back.

For creatives, stepping away from our work can be difficult. We invest so much of our time, effort, and love into what we do. Oftentimes, taking a break can feel like punishment – our perfectionism goes into overdrive, and even a half hour away from our desks can cause us to panic. Finding balance in life is imperative for us creative-types. Yes, we can revel in days filled with typography and kerning minutia without ever feeling like we’re missing out on anything. But when those days turn into weeks and months, our work will suffer – even if we’re completely content emotionally. The truth is that if we want to produce dimensional work, we have to take a step away from the design world and explore the rest of what life has to offer. 

Our studios are our sanctuaries, and the place where our individual creativity is easily expressed. While there, we are surrounded by specific creative triggers and opinions that create a comfortable mental space for us to work. Yes, our studios should be safe spaces for us to explore. However, we have to be careful that they do not become a bubble that isolates us from life outside the art and design world. 

It’s important to remember that there is inspiration to be found everywhere.

So, where does one have to go in order to find some different inspiration? The answer is anywhere – so long as it’s somewhere where work won’t follow. 

Take a walk through the park. Go to that party your friend invited you to. Attend that association meeting you’ve been curious about. Sign up for a class in something that’s not centered around art or design. Hop on a plane or into a car and explore a new city. Take a few minutes and listen to new artists on Spotify. Any of these ideas will work. The point is to get out of your typical headspace and gain some perspective – a new point of view – that you can then carry back with you into the studio.

It is only when we fully engage with people, places, and activities outside of our normal routines that we can create work that excites, interests, and breaks boundaries. So, the next time you feel torn about leaving the studio to attend a dance class or happy hour, remember that a full life is a multidimensional life, and that a multidimensional life is required to create multidimensional work. 

How do you stay connected to the world outside of design? Share your thoughts here!