For me, I deal with limited time, money, and resources as well as some set-in-stone client expectations. All the while, I must keep materials on-brand and focus on the umbrella message of my organization, which is higher education. My biggest objective is just to do good work, but sometimes reality gets in the way. I start every project with a focus on making it great - I wouldn't have it any other way. I do go the extra mile and love it when I can, but when you work in a mostly-limited environment, you find yourself thinking in a mostly-limited way too often. (see below)
So much of what I learned from Creative South was about keeping the creative spirit alive through the sometimes difficult task of putting aside the most creative ideas to finish the job within all the perimeters that you are given. Creative South is what I needed to rattle my creative core - it reminded me that even though not all my jobs have brilliant solutions, it doesn't mean I suck.
Elle Luna's (elleluna.com) talk about the crossroads of "Should" and "Must" really struck a cord with me. My job is a "Should", but my "Must" was fired up by everything I heard. When I see a job that will allow me more creative freedom in my day job, I'm going to jump on it and make the most of it. I'm going to take the time to hand-letter or illustrate - I'm going to take the time to further my creative process. Not because I should, but because I must.
I took away validation about things I've believed in for quite some time - for example, Helena Price (helenaprice.com) talked about her dedication to keeping the photography in her campaigns genuine because that's the best way to tell a story. My entire in-house design team was there to hear that and agree with her thoughts and it renewed our quest to demand that level of quality for our in-house clients.
I have always stayed involved with creative endeavors outside of my day job. I like my job, but I LOVE what I do - I'm a creator. Creative South puts you into an environment with like-minded people - creative thinkers who design and create for a living but who also create for themselves - they make beautiful things because they want to - because it's who they are. That is something I identify with and something that is important to me. I founded The Doodle Swap Project several years go (doodle-swap.com) as a way to keep myself more creative. I'm going to continue to look at my creative path long and hard - I'm seeing that doors of opportunity sometimes need to be knocked on. I want to be inspired and inspire those around me.
Next year, I hope to attend Creative South and be another level closer to that happy creative place in my heart. I'm also going to make sure not to carpool because having to leave early with everyone else in my office was lame!