Notes On Creative Traps

Fresh off his latest book, Unlabeled, designer and entrepreneur Mark Ēcko offered takeaways for creatives looking to make their way in the business world with tales from his decades of building media properties, clothing lines, and video games.

  • Stop counting. Now that our lives are online, it’s easy to keep track of our likes, hits, followers, and friends. “Stop Counting!” pleaded Ēcko. Instead we should focus on the humanity behind our work and the face-to-face interactions that make each brand special. The wealth that matters can’t be counted. 
  • Perception isn’t reality. Reality is reality. It’s easy to categorize others, and it’s even easier to seek categorization ourselves. “Be an un-label,” advised Ēcko. There were times in Ēcko’s career when he realized he was just placating the gatekeepers. Stop giving these people power and your time and energy. No one has a monopoly on validation.
  • Embrace the mess. “Genius is related to one’s ability to manage the pain of the grind,” Ēcko said. And the grind can get messy. Inspiration dosed carefully is the fuel for all creative work. ”Qualitative excellence can’t be hacked,” and takes a lot of false starts, messy rooms, and thinking. It’s rarely a straight and orderly line.
Meiko SeymourComment