Being granted creative freedom means that you are trusted. I’ve talked about the value of creative clarity and some of the pitfalls of creative freedom. Today, I want to discuss the glory of creative freedom and the responsibility that comes with it.
Earned, Not Given
Previously displaying competence and producing positive results, whether on the job or in your portfolio, can earn you some creative freedom. People will trust you when you showcase an exceptional level of understanding and skill. That trust grows with each successful application of your talents. It’s a side effect of your hard work and intelligent execution. There’s no need to micromanage someone who knows what to do and how to do it in a timely manner. For example, as a designer, it is a sweet feeling to be trusted with an abstract idea and turning it into a visual that gives the client exactly what they need. Building that relationship with those you’re serving, through conversation and consistent work, creates an efficiency of communication that improves your work.
Be Free Responsibly
Do not take advantage of the freedom you have accrued. However, don’t be afraid to use that freedom and try new things. Experiment for the good of the project. You can do that since you’ve earned that right. Trust in yourself. You’ve been given this freedom for a reason. Take this opportunity to flourish in your profession. Respect yourself as a professional as others already do and be bold.
Don’t isolate yourself though. Continue to collaborate. Don’t frustrate those around you like you’re some delicate genius.
Freedom vs. Control
Creative freedom isn’t the same as creative control. You still have to get that final approval. You will be held accountable for your decisions. Having creative freedom doesn’t mean you can’t be wrong. Freedom doesn’t mean freedom from consequence or critique. Constantly calibrate. Make sure your actions map towards the ultimate goal of the project, keeping all the variables in mind.
Reward those who put their trust in you. Be confident in your expertise, experience, and creativity. You have that freedom for a reason. Use it but don’t abuse it.