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Beware of this overlooked creativity killer!

Updated: Jan 11


There’s a creativity killer on the loose…

But before revealing this overlooked culprit, I want to start this newsletter off with a quote by the artist Pablo Picasso.

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

More on that in a moment…

First, let’s try to define what creativity really means.

This is when you come up with something original…

Something fresh and new…

It could be a unique solution to a long-standing problem.

Or an idea that changes an audience’s perspective altogether.

And for designers, creativity can also mean pushing the limits while challenging the status quo.

In the process, it’s easy to get lost in your work as you build something extraordinary.

But naturally, you want to improve. That’s when you start turning to more established designers or formal education for tips, knowledge, and best practices.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Of course! There’s so much to learn from teachers, mentors, and designers who have been where we are today.

There’s just one problem…

The dos and do nots of design can quickly put an invisible barrier around your work.

These design rules are the creativity killer I mentioned earlier.


Because if you’re always playing it safe, you could be stifling your full creative potential.

****☝️ But before you try to break every rule in the book, consider this… ☝️****

Most design rules are there for a reason.

And if you’re in the early days of brand design, these rules are a great way to get started with solid footing.

That’s exactly why I included the Pablo Picasso quote earlier!

In my experience, I began bending and breaking design rules exclusively on passion projects before doing so on client work.

On top of that, breaking design rules should be done with intention.

By this, I mean that you should only break rules when it either makes sense or adds tangible value to the work.

Here’s an example…

We’re told to include white space in our designs to avoid overcrowding while letting the design breathe.

But sometimes, designs can feel too spacious and stripped down.

If so, increasing the size of your fonts and graphics could make for a more impactful and intriguing design.

Then there’s alignment.

This is where you line up text and graphics for a clean, polished, and balanced look.

At the same time, this design rule can cause your work to look too structured.

For example, you wouldn’t want a flyer for an extreme sport to come across as rigid and mundane.

That’s where breaking the alignment for a more thrilling look could come in handy.

Of course, it all depends on the unique project feel you’re going for.

And as you gain experience, you’ll know when and when not to try something different.

The bottom line?

Some design rules are meant to be broken!

And by breaking the right rules with intention, you can avoid boring and repetitive content.

Chat next week,

Abi 🙂

P.S. Check out my YouTube video for two additional design rules (and how to break them).


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