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Phil Cooke Podcast

Jul 2, 2019

How is creativity connected to design? Showcasing industrial design, fashion and graphic design, Phil Cooke’s recent visit to the Helsinki Design Museum inspired thoughts about creative design that will encourage artists and designers in your creative pursuits.


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Do you have a message or story the world needs to hear? As a Hollywood producer and media consultant, I offer advice for leaders and creatives each week on filmmaking, digital media, publishing, strategy, communication, leadership, culture and faith – to take you from where you are to where you want to be in your career.


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Creative Design: What I Learned at the Helsinki Design Museum

The Helsinki Design Museum is small, but if you’re visiting the city, I highly recommend it. Here are a handful of thoughts about creativity and design that stood out for me as we toured the exhibits:


  1. You don’t have to be an artistto be a designer.The museum showcases a number of designer’s notebooks, and you’re immediately reminded that many of the drawings and sketches are not works of art. In fact, some are hardly readable. Many designers have brilliant ideas but aren’t necessarily artists themselves. So stop worrying that you’re not a great artist. The point is to get your ideas down on paper.


  1. Design is collaborative.A large exhibit upstairs tracks the very successful Aamu Song & Johan Olin’sdesign practice based in Helsinki.  Their focus is on finding “masters” around the world who have created everything from toys to clothes to household items. They work with these artisans to tweak the product and make it ready for the market. The museum did a great job of showing just how collaborative their work must be to lead that many artists and designers around the world.


  1. Creativity is a process, not a moment.One interesting exhibit was based on the many iterations of the Nokia mobile phone.  Creating what was once the most popular phone in the world wasn’t a flash of inspiration, but a long process featuring many different designs and prototypes. Most of the time, true creativity doesn’t happen in a flash, but in a long process of variations, rough ideas, and failures. But it’s the process that opens the door to insightwhich leads to a successful design.


  1. Creativity is about problem solving.The museum isn’t just interested in the Finnish contribution to graphic or glassware design, but also includes brilliant creations from all walks of life such as farm equipment, transportation, and medicine. They even include the re-design of a wash basin in Finnish sanitariums that dramatically lowered rates of infection among patients.


  1. Design is a way of life. The museum reminded me that being a “designer” isn’t just a job title or a field of study. Design is a way of thinking and a way of living. At some level we’re all designers because we’re all trying to use creativity to navigate through our lives.


  1. For creativity to flourish, it needs to be valued.One of the reasons Finnish design is so popular and successful is that designers are valued in this country. The joke in many other countries about designers is that 90% of their job is responding to client requests to make the logo bigger. But in places like Helsinki where designers are valued and honored, amazing things happen, and world changing ideas are born. – Phil Cooke



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Other Great Resources:

Visit the Helsinki Design Museum! Find out more here

Get creative! Here’s my “Unique: The Ultimate Planner for Creative Professionals”

The Way Back

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