We've been going through a round of interviews recently looking to add another graphic designer to our staff. I enjoy meeting our interviewees, and many times some particular answer or other will leave me thinking about a concept long after the interview has ended.
So it was recently when a discussion at an interview led me to pose this question to a candidate: "We have a lot of B2B technology clients, but the work you're showing in your portfolio -- although fantastic -- has a much softer, B2C focus. How would you bring your right-brain creativity to bear on left-brain concepts?"
The question has had me thinking about right-brain/left-brain concepts ever since.
Bringing right-brain skills to left-brain ideas is not conceptually new to me -- indeed, as someone who was first a Writing major at SUNY Potsdam before pursuing a second degree in Computer Science at Syracuse University, I've often been asked questions pertaining to the creative / logical dichotomy of those two backgrounds. I've had creatives say they couldn't possibly learn code. I've had engineers say they couldn't possibly contribute to visual design or write their way out of a paper bag. I've even said these things myself, from time to time.
The trouble is, we're all wrong.
Neuroscientists and psychiatrists -- and even the originator of the right-brain / left-brain hypothesis -- have known for a long time that our minds are much more holistically complex than that. Carl Zimmer, in an article on left and right brain hemispheres at Discover Magazine online, phrases the concept as the two sides of our brains having an "intimate working relationship."
An "intimate working relationship." I love that phrase, because to me it captures perfectly the essence of how we, as creatives, should be engaging with our clients. The intimate working relationship with the client informs us as to the journey that we need to take with them -- and within ourselves, that same intimate working relationship comes into play as we go about our daily tasks of capturing technologic vagaries with artistic precision. When developers look at a bug they've never seen before and come up with a unqiue solution, they've engaged both sides of their brain. When designers comp out a design that solves the problem of how to make LTE connectivity and eSIMs beautiful, they've engaged both sides of their brain. We're all engaging both hemisphers of our brains all the time in that intimate working relationship.
So maybe I'll stop asking that question in interviews. But then again, maybe I won't -- and will instead listen to the answers, and appreciate both the art and science being expressed in the candidates' own intimate working relationship.