Constraints make creativity valuable.
Some would argue that creativity is best when there are no constraints and the artist or business is free to do whatever they like. I disagree – constraints are what make creativity valuable.
It's easy to be creative if your client has a multi-million dollar budget. It's much less so if that budget is only a few thousand dollars. A professional can hone their creativity and deliver something beautiful regardless of the financial constraints.
Amateurs add, professionals edit. The best restaurants have fewer menu options, not more. The best magazines and blogs are the ones that curate their content and don't settle for information (or inspiration) overload. The best photographers are the ones who can capture myriad emotions in a single image. The best designers are the ones who keep deleting ideas until the product is so simple you think you could have created it yourself.
Constraints and editing require clarity of thought and vision. Constraints require someone to truly know their craft. These things make a business more valuable, not less.
Originally published November 2010