Journalism, Instagram, and the art of “Thinking Inside the Box”

This week I spoke about Journalism, Instagram, and the art of “Thinking Inside the Box”, at the JustDesignIt Symposium in Bloemfontein.
Because it is a design symposium, I based it on one of my favourite design principles, which is: Constraint fosters Creativity.
When you work within narrow parameters, according to strict rules and guidelines, paradoxically, you liberate your thinking.
“Give me the freedom of a tight brief,” said the adman, David Ogilvy.
There are many examples of this principle in practise. The haiku: 3 lines, exactly 17 syllables. The tweet, no more than 140 characters.
The meticulously detailed, coin-sized series of miniatures by the Cape Town artist, Lorraine Loots, on a 10cm X 10xm canvas.
The excellent action movie, “Locke”, which stars one actor and is set entirely in the driver’s seat of a car travelling down a freeway.
And of course, Instagram, with its square format of 640 X 640 pixels, on the canvas of a mobile phone.
The intimacy of Instagram makes it an ideal medium for capturing and telling “small stories” that cast light on big issues and illuminate our common humanity.
Look to the work of Jeff Sharlet, the American journalist, and Gideon Mendel, the South African-born photographer, to see for yourself.
In art as in life, don’t fear boundaries; embrace them. Narrow your focus, and broaden your horizons. Think inside the box, and set your thinking free.

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