I spent last week remaking my company's website and redesigning our logo. While there's still room for improvement, this is a good step forward, and I'm pleased with my work.
What I know for sure is that I'm happiest when I'm creating things. It's funny...I have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a master's in business, yet I've never allowed myself to believe I was creative in the traditional sense. It's only recently, through photography, interaction design, and, most recently, graphic design, that I've been exercising this part of my brain.
But if I think about it, this goes back further, and it was likely always there. I used to draw for hours as a child — and I think I was pretty good at it. In the fourth grade, my teacher asked me to design and draw the cover for a class book we made. In tenth grade science class, I designed and built one of the best bridges. I remember feeling so good to create something out of nothing using only my thoughts and my hands. And, more recently, in my previous work as a digital strategist, I created a ton of beautifully designed presentations filled with creative solutions to interesting problems.
I've always enjoyed designing the layout of the content (information design) just as much as creating the content itself. In fact, I think it's more difficult for me to produce great content without also thinking about the container it's presented in, and my creative process often involves bouncing around between the two. I'm thankful that I've gotten to work with people who place value on this because it's really important to me too.
Ultimately, creative output can come in many forms, just like ideas can. I think as long as it has meaning for you, then you should do it. Recently I read an article by Umair Haque; it was about starting things from a place of pure intention. What that means is doing something without the need or expectation for recognition, appreciation, or reward. Instead, do it because it's a gift and because you are consumed by it. They say that's where the best stuff comes from, and I totally agree.