Being pigeonholed can actively restrict your creativity. It’s a trap!
Focus is important in creativity. It allows you to achieve, rather than wallow about in a swamp of disparate ideas. Knowing what your strengths are, knowing how to use them to their best ability, knowing how to maximise creative opportunities are all elements of focus.
However, there’s a big difference between focus and pigeonholing, and many creative types (or their bosses) forget that. Just because you focus your creativity on developing stunning artworks in one particular medium doesn’t mean that is the only area you should think creatively.
The advertising industry is ride with pigeonholed creatives.
That’s a copywriter. That’s an art director. That’s a digital specialist.
Don’t ask the copywriter to think about integrating his words visually within a digital environment. That’s why we have individual specialists, right?
Yawn. Ok, I’m slightly exaggerating, but only slightly. I’ve dealt with many people who look at me as a specialist in my given medium, assuming I have little value in any other (there are probably a few who think i have little value in any medium, but that’s another story).
It’s a shortsighted attitude, and one that you, as a creative type, should treat very carefully. If you allow yourself to be pigeonholed too strictly, you’re actively allowing your creative output to be reduced.
Think about it. If you’re a writer and create visuals, you gain a new perspective on how words and images combine. If you’re an architect who plays an instrument, your understanding of acoustics may affect your next design. If you’re a painter who sculpts, how much better wil you understand light and shadow the next time you pick up a brush.
Of course, it seems obvious. But it’s often forgotten as we delve deeper into our own specialities. Explore creativity itself as a discipline, and please, please broaden the creative fields in which you work.