When creativity overtakes function, seldom a viable solution results.

Previously, I posted my opinion on why creativity should solve a problem and not just be interesting to interesting’s sake. I think it’s highly important to always be aware that something that’s more “creative” isn’t always something that solves a problem, reaches a goal, or accomplishes an established task.

In some decent examples that illustrate why innovative creative ideas getting in the way of actual use could pose a problem, Italian artist Giuseppe Colarusso has created item in his collection  Improbabilità.

Rolling dough has never been easier than with this  rectangle rolling pin.

Rolling dough has never been easier than with this creatively innovative rectangular rolling pin.

Note, his works are not a commentary on the ills of function vs. design, but it illustrates my opinion nonetheless.

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Technique should = solution, not just interesting application.

In elementary school, I had a ruler printed with lenticular and dinosaur images. When you moved it, it gave the illusion that the dinosaur was moving. I thought that was pretty cool.

But that’s where the opinion on lenticular stops now: Pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve ever found a particularly useful application of this method, but it added an interesting element to printed pieces. That’s not to say that lenticular prints have under or overused. It just means that I as an individual hadn’t found a use for them other than to make something “more interesting”.

So then I saw this use of lenticular for fundación anar, (which is “The Foundation of Helping Children and Adolescents at Risk”, an organization based in Spain) on Brand Flakes for Breakfast,  I thought the technique was finally being applied in a useful and beneficial matter. Kinda like code.

Upon further investigation, it seems like this print technique has been used before to promote child welfare/safety in this “Children see things differently” outdoor campaign from the Netherlands.

Snoep means "candy" in case you're wondering.

Snoep means “candy” in Dutch. Dishwashing tablets don’t taste like candy though.
Creative done by Amsterdam ad agency Lemz.

This highlights an interesting tactic that can prove to be helpful in communication/advertising decisions. All too often I feel that certain techniques (print, interactive, social, etc) are used just for the sake of using them. Though I started this post with my opinion of the dinosaur moving on the ruler with “pretty cool, but nothing else”, that lenticular use is somewhat strategic because it’s a product tailored to kids. Kids like “pretty cool” things, and will ask their parents to buy those products for them. Making it toy or child tailored product “most interesting” may not fall into the category of “useful application”, but it is not without it’s marketing reasoning.

It seems like the best use of certain techniques and tactics occurs when the application is to the actual benefit of the user and solves a problem, like what Fundation did.

And you know what, I’m all of sudden wondering if lenticular is best used for children all around. Hmmm.