Reading an article this morning, The Design Disease, reminded me of something I’ve long held to be true – that while you or I might create Art now and again, it’s not the same thing as the urge to be an Artist. (Or in this case Designer.)

Everyone I know who has become a successful (by which I mean: makes their living doing it, and receives at least modest acclaim from their peers in the field) creative type has one thing in common – brain damage. They’re obsessed with their field. I swear to god, I could go round my friends with creative aspirations, and point fingers saying “will make it”, “Will do a few bits and bobs, might make a modest living”, “no chance”, purely on the basis of the level of their obsession. I’d be right about 95% of the time.

It’s a long documented thing, the thin line between Artist’s gift and madness. But the thing I find most interesting is the idea that it can be taught. You can make yourself an obsessive, with a brain that is optimised to do certain things, and you will do better than your contemporaries. All you need to do is be willing to sacrifice a bit of your normal human function in exchange. For some people, this is no contest at all. Others, they hold a bit of themselves back, in fear.

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