My creative process is a jumbled one. While I’d say that I generally don’t enjoy living a dramatic life, it seems that my creative process is the queen of theatrics. I typically start a project with a ton of ideas; concept is my forte, and sketching, making mind maps and figuring out a direction is usually very easy for me. I love when project timelines allow me to spend weeks just trying to understand the background of a problem.

I enjoy exploring to try and find a strong conceptual way to solve the issue, and then coming up with ideas for how to translate that solution into design. But then there is the turning point; nearly every single project I work on fails at the beginning of the design direction. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single postcard or an entire system of things, at some point in the design process I hit rock bottom. I’m talking emotional, desperate, I’m-so-sick-of-this-I-could-drop-out bottom. I suspect it’s some kind of fear of failure; some anxiety brought about by the load that school puts on me, and the subsequent pressure I put on myself to always do my best and never regret a final project. Whatever it is, I know that that time sucks. I feel that maybe subconsciously I believe that once I get the shit out, I can’t go anywhere but up from there. I always spend a week or two in that terrible place, but then I begin to come out of it.

The only thing that keeps me going is knowing I can’t just give up and that I will end up with a well designed project. It seems that as soon as I get that spark for design, I get right back on track and into the momentum of the project again. As much as I hate this process, I’ve learned in my four years at school that that is just the way I am. I am a good student and I produce good work, I just have to go through a bit of an emotional roller coaster to do it. I care very much about what I do and I know that it is that pressure that I put on myself that makes this happen in my process. I know that I get much more emotionally involved than I should, and I end up stressing myself out far more than is necessary, but it’s my system. It may change for the better, change for the worse, or stay the same once I graduate and get a job. Whatever happens, I’m okay with it because it’s the way I am, it’s how my creative process goes, and it works for me.

Rachel Ariyavatkul
Graphic Design student, College for Creative Studies
Detroit, MI