Three Tips for a Successful Creative Collaboration

Three Tips for a Successful Creative Collaboration

From a layman’s point of view, creatives can appear to be all-knowing, nearly magical masters of their respective crafts. Someone who doesn’t know much about painting, for instance, can assume that classical masters such as Leonardo da Vinci drew and painted their works from scratch. But in reality, they often worked with several skilled apprentices in a workshop setting.

In the modern age, it’s easy to assume that a photographer is responsible for every task involved in creating the final image. But many photographers work with professional photo retouching and other post-processing experts to achieve their desired look. Just because a creative person has all the skills required, it doesn’t mean they should go solo. Here’s how you can achieve greater results through creative collaboration.

Align individual and collective vision


No one gets far in a creative discipline without putting in the hours of work to hone their talent. You’ll inevitably come to know yourself better and define what you bring to the table. Thus, creatives tend to be quite familiar with their unique voice and vision. The first challenge with working in a collaborative effort is aligning that individual vision with that of the collective. How does your exceptional talent contribute to the group? Are there any adjustments you need to make to achieve a harmonious work? Making changes to your process can require a little subduing of the ego or take you out of your comfort zone; however, these are the same things that help you grow as a creative.

Strengthen communication and trust


A successful collaboration between creatives should always have a healthy level of autonomy. As the saying goes, restrictions breed creativity, but too much rigidity also stifles a creative’s best work.

Creatives should take some level of guidance and harness their unique differences to contribute towards a result that is greater than the sum of its parts. The role of excellent communication becomes critical in ensuring that creatives stay on the same page while still enjoying the freedom to execute their vision.

In-person communication can better facilitate the discussion and expression of ideas as well as constructive feedback. We lose much of the context of what is said over the phone or through chat or email communications. Face-to-face discussions will help build trust and create a safe space for collaborators to share their ideas.

Stay focused on the process


Creatives may not experience daily moments of inspiration as they are often depicted in popular culture. Still, in general, a creative person will often come up with multiple promising ideas for a given project. Sometimes, you may work with collaborators who are also handling other projects simultaneously.

Nevertheless, it’s vital for everyone involved to stay focused on the process and limit their external distractions. They should also recognize that not all potential ideas will work out for the current project – pursuing a fruitless design thus becomes a waste of time and effort. Have someone in a leadership role, such as an art director, or establish a system whereby each member holds fellow collaborators accountable to keep everyone focused and achieve progress.

For creatives, collaboration is an excellent opportunity to focus on a particular aspect of their craft which they love and execute best, while relieving themselves of the less desired processes. Using these tips, you can make any creative collaboration result in success on all counts.

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