Holism in design and business is a natural extension of the creative process.
While working on a project, your ideas are being drawn from your life and experiences. They are colored by your emotions, polished by your aesthetic, and framed with a perspective that is uniquely yours.
Why Holistic Design?
Because your gifts and talents are far more meaningful when paired with your story. Businesses (particularly small, indie businesses) are built on the time, energy, and dreams of real people. In other words: it is personal. Why pretend it isn’t?
Holistic design focuses on:
- the worth and value you bring to your business;
- providing a visual platform for your business and voice; and
- creating a clear identity that speaks not only to your market, but to your heart.
If you’d like to chat about introducing a more holistic design, purpose, or process to your work, we’d love to hear from you!
Curious How We Got Here?
We realized the need for a holistic approach in our business and life after a long period of exploration and experimentation. We discovered that by censoring ourselves to fit the prescribed ‘professional / successful business model,’ we were closing off our creative expression. (That’s like a candy factory trying to produce without sugar.)
It wasn’t until we decided to infuse the business with our true selves that we felt free to create, share, and explore once again.
Our Winding Path to Holism in Business
As indie business folk, we’re encouraged to pick one thing and run with it. But what if doing only one thing leaves you feeling unfulfilled?
It’s for that very reason we decided to meld all of our projects into one, and replace all forms of our business with a holistic representation, with us as our business. Hence the lack of a ficticious name.
Holism … is the idea that natural systems … and their properties, should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems somehow function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts.
That last part?
Wait. What? A Holistic Business?
Sure, it’s common to see the word holistic applied to the health and wellness industry, but it’s not as much of stretch as you might think to find it in the business world:
A holistic brand (also holistic branding) is considering the entire brand or image of the company. For example, a universal brand image across all countries, including everything from advertising styles to the stationery the company has made, to the company colours.
From the idea of holistic design (we are a creative studio, after all) it’s a short jump to the concept of a holistic business practice.
What really makes an indie business tic? The individual(s) behind the business. Their passion is in the driver seat, but passion isn’t in the car alone. There are passengers that keep the journey fun, fill the tank, and grab a coffee when energy runs low.
Those passengers are the business owner’s experiences, desires, friends, and family. They are also (most likely) what nurtured their passion when it was merely a whim. Why should those roles be swept under the rug?
They should be celebrated and shared.
More Than the Sum of Our Parts
Until now, we’ve attempted to keep our business, artistic, and personal interests / projects separate from each other. Why? We were told we had to please the powers that be (Google) if we wanted to gain momentum online and be really successful.
Business coaches and advisers often encourage folks to “Keep the message consistent with your business / mission / customer,” “Don’t offer all of your passions at once – it will confuse people,” “Pick one thing that you love and go with it.”
Listening to the experts left us feeling so frustrated, deflated, and disinterested that we were questioning our every move. Eventually we stopped moving.
Those statements are not bad advice, they’re just not the right advice for us.
Our frustration was not in sharing our ideas, but in sharing one specific idea. We were censoring our enthusiasm, dividing our energy, and ultimately alienating ourselves from the things we loved by compartmentalizing them.
Love Doesn’t Fit Neatly in a Container
We had created separate blogs for nearly all of our passions and felt paralyzed when we tried to share them with the world because we couldn’t figure out how to classify certain thoughts. Why? Because our passions overlap. They do not exist unto themselves. They feed each other and blend together rather nicely. The result: abandoned blogs, dwindling traffic, and a lot of sadness.
We weren’t serving anyone as well as we wanted to because we weren’t being ourselves. All of our attempts to give of ourselves were restrained by those ‘rules of business’ that we were told we had to follow in order to succeed.
Herein Lies the Irony
We are self-employed creatives who pride ourselves on throwing convention-for-convention’s-sake out the window, yet for some reason, we thought we had to follow the rules to make it work. (Knock. Knock. Anybody home?)
Don’t get us wrong, the rules are great as a guide or a jumping off point. They work fabulously for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean they work for everyone or every business. (Sort of like left-handed scissors.)
If the rules aren’t working, break ’em.
If It Feels Wrong, Stop.
Along with all of the rules, you’ll often hear: “You have to wade through a lot of shit to get to the good stuff.”
Now, we’ve definitely waded through our fair share, but it’s been our experience that some out-of-the-box thinking often reveals a lovely little boat that will get you safely to your destination.
You do not have to ‘suffer through’ to enjoy your life’s work.
In the short time that has elapsed since making the decision to become a holistic business, we have received an overwhelming amount of reassurance that we’re heading in the right direction. (The universe is a good one for nods of approval and high fives.)
Had we stuck with our previous modus operandi, we would:
- be stifled by our project organization;
- feel apathetic toward our passions and want to call it quits; and
- still be rising stars in ‘adult’ searches from Japan. (We share that story here.)
It’s okay to start over. It’s okay to get there a different way, or walk in circles for a while. It’s okay to keep searching until you find your groove / calling / purpose / way. It’s more than okay. It’s good…fabulous…spectacular…necessary.
Guess what else?
It’s okay to do it a lot.
It’s far too easy to forget that the process is just as important as the product – more so at times. We like to provide a perfectly polished gem to the world instead of showing the lumpy, dirty rock we started out with. It all matters.
Perhaps it would serve us well to offer our struggles along with our triumphs, our recipes along with our resources, our silliness along with our service. They are, after all, parts of our story – parts of our whole.
Here’s to the whole, holi you…