For years I though that Ray Eames was a man. She was half of the remarkably prolific creative duo Eames Studio who, with her husband Charles became icons of design in the mid 20th Century. Ray was an accomplished painter and textile designer in her own right and as part of the Eames duo she and her designer partner husband refined furniture and architecture - in fact they experimented in so many fields from graphics to exhibition design that their accomplishments and influence are the stuff of legend.
Another design partnership who's co-star is usually overwhelmed by casual sexism is Lella and Massimo Vignelli. I always thought of the pronouncements of Vignelli to be those of a sort of design Il Duce - feet astride and arms folded expressing his manifesto
Both the Vignellis and Eames pairs had long and distinguished careers, which raises the matter of age and creativity. The myth tends to assert that advertising and design are 'a young man's game'. Where this notion comes from I can't imagine - probably from young men. There is much to be said for experience in creative industries. Innovation and novelty are all well and good - but they aren't necessarily the things that will connect with the customers you are writing or designing for. One of the by-products of having a lot of young people innovating away is that they are often performing to impress their peers. It doesn't just lead to weird juxtapositions of styles as they try to out do each other but it also leads to a kind of creative entropy. It all starts to look and feel the same - trendy.
The psychologist Jung talked about how people get to a stage in their lives when they realise who they are and stop seeking the approval of others. I have an unproven theory that runs in parallel to this - young people are biologically conditioned to sexual display - so things have to be bigger, better, faster, cooler (just ad -er) to the end of any adjective. To -er is human. So when people have had families and settled down (no not in the suburbs - hormonally) their heads clear. AT the same time time has allowed them to hone their craft and view other human beings as something other than prospective mates or threats. From out of the haze comes a kind of clarity. Massimo Vignelli stopped searching for the hippest fonts to use in his ads a long time ago - in fact he thought you'd be just fine if you stuck with a dozen you would be fine (by his own admission he was being generous with the numbers because he was being interviewed on St Patricks day).
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.