Where To Begin?

Design /

A blank page, what do I do with this?

We all go through this, probably in art class when we’re young. The teacher hands you a blank sheet of paper and expects you to be the next Michelangelo or Picasso. Instead you spend a good twenty minutes staring at it waiting for the artwork to paint itself.

Otherwise, this situation can be crudely or aptly called ‘the blank page terror’. It’s something scarier than a page out of a Goosebumps novel, an expectation to create something out of nothing. We then have to ask ourselves, where to make the first mark?

Usually the first mark begins with an idea, if you have one that is. If you don’t, you spend a good gut wrenching half hour looking into the depth of your soul to come up with something resembling an idea.

But what is an idea?

As creative people, we often struggle with this concept. We have ideas but cannot articulate them. Creatives are commonly asked where our ideas are from. I wish there was an aisle at the supermarket, or a magical answer for this. There really isn’t one.

In truth, we don’t even know what it is or where it comes from. Ideas certainly stem from somewhere; probably from here, there, everywhere. It could be something lurking in your brain or heart, otherwise known as intuition. That is however, only a hypothesis, no one really knows. It’s the unknown.

Whatever it is, it is a reflection of a specific moment in time. An accumulation of all things which make us human; bits of feeling, history, art, science, and just about anything. It is the creative’s understanding (or at least an attempt to understand) of the world in that moment, which enables the outcome.

The outcome, being design (or anything creative, but as a graphic designer, I’m always inclined to say design), which if done correctly, transcends over time and elevates its role in society. Design improves, connects, and embraces people, it makes sense of the relentless chaos around us. And that is the reason we attempt the first mark on an empty page.

N. Al Sada