Typos, malapropisms, and spilled drinks notwithstanding, creatives are – each in our own way – perfectionists. This just makes us ordinarily human, I reckon. After all, the pursuit of quality is a common human endeavor – an airtight moon base, a better relationship with Dad, a more comfortable sitting position – and perfection is just the ever-elusive end of that journey. But we perhaps wrestle more rounds than most with the unattainability of perfection because it’s actually in our job descriptions, after the part about turtlenecks.
Beyond serving clients’ goals and our souls, we have a practical responsibility to resolve the feud between perfection and timeliness. They’re a-fussin’ and a-fightin’, you know. Perfection, the impossible pinnacle of quality, requires ages to get nowhere near. And, well, time will have none of it – distorting our predefinition of perfection the moment quality begins to build. So, given the expectations of budget and schedule, we’re required to plot aspirations on a spectrum from “What can be done” to “what can be Done”.
To the perfectionist, this is known as “cutting corners”.
Now, these considerations threaten the very foundation of aspiration and thus ignite regular conflagrations at bigwidesky’s world headquarters (where more than one cold pancake has been hurled in disagreement). Yep, in the feud between perfection and timeliness, we’ve got a family on both sides. But for my part, I’ve come to appreciate timeliness as a qualitative metric – and almost a sneak-attack on perfection. In my estimation, even in the (noble and foolhardy and obsessive) pursuit of supreme quality, the deepest pitfall is the lure of perfection’s swiftly receding shadow.
This probably makes me some sort of sell-out knucklehead, but the only feasible approach to perfection, as I feel it, is to compartmentalize aspiration in consideration of budget and schedule. And with humble respect for quality, to not cut corners – but artfully, deliberately, and perfectly round them.