It is really interesting to note the impact of data on design and creativity. On the face of it, the two seem to be opposite to each other. After all, a creative endeavor, thought or action does not necessarily have to follow set paths or even any rational thought. Data, of which more is available than ever before, tries to pinpoint the solutions which have been most successful through various metrics and then attempts to guide the creative team in that direction.
The promise seems to be to help focus creative thinking and make it more practically useful, efficient and ultimately quantifiable. The downside of that approach is that everyone with the access to the same data will come to a similar conclusion.
Can data really replace ingenuity, originality, and instinct? We do not think so. We also do not reject the use of data altogether, however, depending solely on data to guide decision making is a dangerous road to go down. Creative efforts must not become sterile and pre-packaged otherwise the initial goal of catering to the target audience will be completely lost and come off as fake.
Striking the right balance between data and creativity is an art, and something that comes with experience. Spark Interact has been lucky to have strong leadership teams in both the areas as well as a process to make the best of both worlds.
Data helps quantify the success of creative processes, but that does not mean that all creative processes have to be data driven. It is important to try new things and push established boundaries to forge a unique identity for your business.
The process of automation based on the data that has been collected has started to enter all fields of industry. Marketing and design are no different and data collected in real time has started to influence the way in which advertisements are displayed, the manner in which different design elements are highlighted and even going so far as to recommend design changes itself.
This is an inevitable road that we are going to go down on where some of the initial aspects of design will be replaced by data-driven processes. It is the creative input on top that will create value and build brand identity.
Thus, the premise that data is killing creativity may be an overstatement of sorts, however, it can happen if data is used more like guide rails rather than signposts. There is no going back from all the data collection that is happening, but making that data work for you will require a collaborative effort between creative minds and the analytical ones.
Everyone will have the same resources at their disposal but not everyone will think of the same applications for them. In the end, creativity and originality will always win out.