No constraints, no creativity

“To an artist in pursuit of beauty or a scientist in search of truth, the bounds of a project may appear as unwelcome constraints. But the mark of a designer, as the legendary Charles Eames said often, is a willing embrace of constraints. Without constraints design cannot happen …

… The willing and even enthusiastic acceptance of competing constraints is the foundation of design thinking

– Change by Design by Tim Brown

Creativity, in one way or another, is an unexpected and clever approach to solve a problem with many difficult boundaries. Hence, to deliver creativity, there must be firstly a problem/ a boundary/ a constraint. Without such, creativity is not worth called creativity.


In the context of advertising in Vietnam, I strongly disagree with the argument that our advertising industry is not as developed as other countries like Thailand because we have strict advertising regulations. We often talk about creativity as something above-the-sky that is awkward or silly or not to be understood. It is not. The work that can avoid breaching the law, make the customers understand and remember, and solve the client’s communication problem is creative work. If a so-called creative work coming out of nowhere that doesn’t solve anything or isn’t effective, then it should not be called “creativity”. Creativity comes from constraints. Creativity must solve the problem. Creativity must be effective.

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One Response to No constraints, no creativity

  1. Pingback: “Creative Brief” through another lens (p.1) | Fascinating Marketing

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