I recently interviewed an architect who compared good architecture to solutional poetry. “Like a good poem,” he told me, architects are “trying to find a pure system and order…as opposed to cacophony or randomness.”
I started to think about how solutional poetry could be applied to our work at TypeA. How can content creators find order in the digital world, which is anything but orderly? Like architects, we walk the fine line between creativity and system. How do we turn our stories into solutions that make marketing sense? Let’s take the example of an architect’s blog, and how it could become solutional poetry.
Brainstorming is the art and flow of generating ideas, and every design blog needs good ideas. In the beginning stages, we brainstorm, research editorial and squeeze every last possible blogging topic out of things like U.S. holidays, random holidays, design inspirations, design events, pop culture phenoms and the architect’s design specialization. It could result from stream of consciousness too. No idea is too crazy or dumb. It’s important to simply get ideas down on paper (or chalkboard). Editing comes later.
Most novelists and screenwriters write outlines to help visualize their stories. Architects, too, use blueprints (or CAD). We apply a similar technique to a client’s blog, but we call it a “content calendar.” Content calendars are our way of organizing and editing the ideas we developed during our brainstorming session. It also gives us a big-picture view of the blog–its overall theme, strategy, the rhythm and flow of story topics, etc. From this vantage point, we are able to identify gaps or areas for further exploration–so there is a natural logic to the blog. (This isn’t to say we can’t add new topics that are timely or relevant, but we use the calendar as our general map for blogging.)
Once we lock down the calendar and have client approval, we start to build with words–the poetry of who, what, when, where, why and how.
While I wouldn’t dare argue that developing a blog is even artistically close to creating a poem or even designing a building, there is an order and logic to be found in the creative process. And vice versa, there is an art to blogging too. You are still creating something from nothing.
What does ‘solutional poetry’ mean to you? How can you apply it to what you do?