In some rank-and-file designers, there seems to be a quiet sadness borne of this realization: “I experiment with art and create beautiful things…so why aren’t I happier than this?” It was this feeling that Sagmeister & Walsh’s Jessica Walsh tuned into with her recent HOW conference address about the importance of play in creativity. For those who missed it, Good magazine was good enough to print Walsh’s written version here.
Building on her extensive reading on the subject, Walsh explains that play:
- Allows us to hone skills in a safe environment so that we don’t get our heads handed to us in the “real world”
- Actually makes us smarter
- Determines our level of “creative genius” growing up.
Perhaps most surprising, studies suggest that “adults who play are actually shown to be more productive at work and in business than adults who do not play.”
So what do you need to take advantage of the power of play?
- An ability to work through your “failures”
- A sense of humor
- A motivation beyond the paycheck.
As Walsh concludes, “The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.”