The law of diminishing returns is an economic concept that refers to the point at which the level of benefits gained from an activity starts to decrease after a certain level of investment.
In the context of the creative process, the law of diminishing returns suggests that there is a point at which adding more resources, such as time, effort, or money, to the creative process will not result in a proportionate increase in the quality or value of the final product.
For example, if a designer spends a certain amount of time on a project, they may be able to create a high-quality design that meets the client’s needs.
However, if they continue to work on the project for an extended period of time, they may reach a point where the additional effort does not result in a significantly better design.
In this case, the law of diminishing returns would be in effect, as the designer would not be receiving a proportionate increase in benefits for their additional effort.
Overall, the law of diminishing returns suggests that it is important to carefully consider the investment of resources in the creative process, as there is a point at which the benefits of additional effort will start to decrease.
Excitement. At the start of every new project, every new page, there’s an element of excitement. Something fresh is being put on the table. No project problems are weighing you down. It’s fun.
Progress is going good. You’re making big plans and you’re happy with how things might unfold.
The initial hill. This is the first problem that pops up within any given creative project. Problems can come in the form of self doubt, time management, budget and so on.
Your mileage with hills may vary. Some problems are big (like trying to find out whether your business will work out) while others are small (like having to learn a new software for the first time or getting over a case of imposter syndrome). This is the most interesting, critical part of any important project, and there will be multiple hills.
Dénouement. In stories, they refer to the part after the problem gets solved as the dénouement. This is the part where you resolve the primary (and secondary and tertiary) problems in your project. You tie your strings together into a nice bow and get ready to wrap things up.
Personally, I like a little reflection at the end of my projects. I like to see where my hills were and how I could have faced them better. I like to revisit the highs and the lows before moving on to something else.
Yet there are still a million different coffee brands around the world, each telling their own bean story or roasting process or how they want to brew the perfect cup over and over again.
The stories are all similar. After all, how many different ways can you really grow a coffee bean?
Regardless, millions still itch to tell their own coffee story, in their own voice, their own way.
Similar to a designer’s portfolio, a designer’s voice is everything. Besides the projects, besides the achievements, and the resume, your voice is one element that often gets overlooked when preparing a portfolio.
For me, I like to consider the following questions:
What do you naturally sound like to someone else?
Where are the people you want to connect with going to find you?
More importantly, are you going to be someone that other people similar to you want on their side?
Millions of brands of coffee, but we only choose to stick with a few because they sound like us.
Find your voice, tell your story.
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It’s always a good time to invest in your own voice.
Adding onto yesterday’s story about iteration, I think the other part of why I instinctively dislike having to iterate is because the message I get is: try again, you lost, there’s an error, something’s wrong, it’s not good enough.
All of which is not great news for me, so yes. Cue the internal sigh as we do it another time.
Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like a step forward, but I know deep down that it is.