"Ask people to name a color. They'll start with the easy ones; black, white, blue, red, green, maybe yellow. Then they'll pause. And the colors will get a little crazier; purple, gold, pink, brown, grey. Then they'll pause again. And the colors will get crazier again this time with things like goldenrod and periwinkle and chartreuse. We're trying to get to the colors after the fifth pause."
As he said this I could feel it being seared into my brain. Could feel myself nodding along in agreement. Even through the slight haze of a couple, couple of drinks* I knew this was good advice. It also says a lot about the benefit of being persistent.
I think that's an excellent way to think about making any creative work. It's so simple. It's so distilled down into the most basic thought. It's a statement of purpose among statements of purposes. It's also a good reminder that making anything good takes a lot of thought and a lot of leaps.
It's the same principle as coming up with a hundred tag lines or a hundred ideas. Luke Sullivan mentions this in 'Hey Whipple' and numerous other ad luminaries have said it too. John Cleese talks about this in his talk about creativity, too.The best way to find something unique is to keep digging. To fight the urge to step away when you find something halfway decent.
Pushing until you're on the edge of finding something divorced from the thing you're trying to say but still having it connect just enough. It's about exhausting the obvious. That's the sweet spot.
*Probably the reason I don't remember the name of the person quoted, just the quote.