A few weeks ago I read a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson:
"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing."
I didn't think much of it and used my brush pen to write out the phrase for fun. But within the past week I found myself thinking of Jefferson's quote more and more and how it applies to a creative career.
I am generally a rule follower. Breaking the rules has consequences, ones I generally want to avoid. But sometimes following the rules and sticking yourself in a box does you no favors. You become creatively stifled. Sure, in any field there are rules that should be followed. If you're a writer, you want to spell things correctly to be taken seriously. If you're a designer, you want to have a consistent layout so as not to confuse the reader. But to what point do you decide to break a rule or two? When does breaking the rules work in your favor?
I am slowly learning that breaking certain rules can be beneficial. For instance, in this image above, I spent less than 30 minutes working on it. I did minimal editing and allowed most of the imperfections. I'm glad I did, because I think it made a more interesting piece. If I tried to make this perfect, it would have lost the hand-drawn look I was going for.
I'm not saying you should stop following general conventions or walk out of your job without a backup plan. But sometimes stepping outside a rule or two can open your eyes to better ideas and solutions. I think once you know when to follow rules and when to break them you become an innovator. Someone who people hope can change things and ultimately change things for the better.
If you'd like to read Jefferson's quote in the full context, you can read it here.
If you'd like to read a book that talks about design rules to follow and when to break them, I recommend Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans.
When has breaking the rules worked in your favor? I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or connect with me through any of the social links in the footer below.