I’ll be honest; I was a little skeptical at the start of this course when we were given the PCA project. I’ve never been a fan of daily-log-esque documentation — I’ve tried my hand at following through with 365-photo challenges and other artistic ventures like those — but I’ve never been completely successful in maintaining them. In other words, I haven’t been as disciplined as I should have been. The PCA for this course forced me to be responsible because I would be held accountable for taking charge of my creativity, unless my grade would suffer.
I chose Tumblr, a social network that I spend a lot of time on, as my platform. I wasn’t sure what to post at first, so I just decided to re-blog interesting, inspiring, funny, innovative, and controversial photos, videos, songs, products, memes, gifsets, and “art” that caught my attention. However, over the semester, my PCA has evolved greatly. I still find great value in re-blogging those interesting tidbits, but became more personal. By the end of this semester, it now includes my rants, insights, triumphs, failures, and adventures. Looking back, some major themes of my PCA include interesting concepts for new products (for the industrial designer in me), cool typography (for the graphic designer in me), and inspirational quotes (for the cheesy optimist in me). Together, all the posts are a self portrait. The same way you can deduce a lot from someone’s Facebook profile, my blog reflects my interests, personality, beliefs, and values without explicitly stating or categorizing my logistical personal information (age, race, relationship status, educational background, etc.). That’s what I believe everyone’s PCA should be — a cross-cut of what goes on in their brain and a reflection of one’s mark on the world.
My PCA is something that I can refer back to a few months from now to see how I have grown creatively. As someone who values the self-evolution through change, I also value the fact that my PCA serves as somewhat of a diary or time capsule that documented one of the most demanding semesters of college. I hope to one day look back at this, appreciate the fact that I documented my journey, and remember how I got through infamous junior year.
Through this process, I have changed in several ways. First and foremost, the PCA taught me how to be more disciplined with myself. To force myself to post something in a blog every day forced me to at least try to make my life more interesting to write about. At the end of many days, I reflected about how boring or lame my day was. This made me realize that I need to go looking for more adventure in my life. This realization was a wake-up call of some sort.
Conversely, writing and reflecting on a daily basis gave me the chance to document successes and experiments outside of the class. For example, as Creative Director at The Daily Illini, life was pretty hectic. I had a hard time appreciating the how great the opportunity was until I posted lots of things I created in that position. In retrospect, my PCA made me realize how valuable of an experience working at the DI was.
Another lesson I learned from the PCA was that it’s important to get in tune with the world around me. By following current events, trends in social media, and what’s new in the design world, I would like to believe I have become a better designer and more creative individual. You can learn a lot just from observing your surroundings.
Moving forward after completing this course, I will take the principles and realizations I listed above and apply them into my design practices and everyday life. The PCA definitely taught me to get in the habit of flexing my creative muscles, no matter how much I dreaded doing it that frequently. Overall, it was a valuable experience that taught me to reflect on life and the environment that molded it.