Creatively Unsatisfied

Every once in a while, I hear the phrase “creatively satisfied” – usually an interview asking an artist if they’re satisfied creatively. And that phrase has always rubbed me the wrong way. Because as a creative person, I feel like it’s my very nature never to be satisfied with my work. The kerning in a logo could be tweaked until my eyes bleed, an article could be rewritten endlessly until I run out of words in the English language. Everything could always be better.

But is it a bad thing that I’m never 100% satisfied with my work? Of course not – what point would there be in doing anything at all once you’ve created the perfect thing – whatever that may be? I would never want to create a “perfect” piece of art. “Perfect” is bullshit.

And maybe “satisfaction” is bullshit too… at least as far as it relates to creativity. Creativity by its very definition is producing something new and original – and creative people look for new, unique solutions to ordinary problems. If there’s any satisfaction in that, it’s fleeting because something can’t be “new” and “original” forever. “New” is only truly new until the next new thing. And that new thing is only new until the next new thing, and so on.

“Perfect” is bullshit.

I may be proud of my creative work, but I’ll never be satisfied with it. It may function perfectly. It may connect with people and satisfy them – but I won’t be satisfied. I’ll always think of how it could be better or how I can push myself further next time.

I’ll always be unsatisfied. But I’ll be unsatisfied as creatively as I can be.

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When not working as a designer, Matt's either reading a book and drinking whiskey or writing a book and drinking coffee.

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