Is it the end of your creative project or the beginning of your legacy?

I once heard that achieving a goal or completing a project, while exhilarating in some ways, can also sometimes lead to a sense of loss.

I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit since I attended an event put together by CreativeMornings, a “face-to-face creative community.” The theme for the event was “End,” and CreativeMornings challenged speakers around the country to talk about how end moments can also have countless possibilities.

Elizabeth Mead, founder of Tandem Collaborative and speaker at the event said, “I don’t look at end moments as ‘okay, we’re done,’ I look at them as ‘great, we did it, now what’s next?’”

In creative design, Mead said that ends are really a beginning of sorts. “If you are doing logos, branding, websites or brochures or you’re designing experiences, ends should be a really big part of your vernacular, because it’s really what others are going to experience at the end of your creation that matters the most.” She added, “You have this incredible capability to sew in powerful moments that will ripple out long after you’re here.”

Because of that, Mead said it’s important to start your projects with the end in mind. Not doing so, particularly when collaborating creatively, can have consequences: The project feels like it will never end. “How many of you have done a branding project, and you’re on round 36, and you’re like goodness gracious?” This is a big challenge for any marketing or creative team who doesn’t ask what the end should look like.

On the flip side, she shared the story of a mentor who created a 500-year plan for his business. In his absence, his business continues to thrive because he took the time to think about the end vision without him in it, including “this is what we’re creating; this is what our ripple effect is going to be.”

She added, “The secret to success of that project, of that logo you’re designing for that client you’re trying to land right now, is the end.”

We’ve all been through those creative projects that we thought would never end. I like the idea of looking forward to the end, not just because of that great feeling of accomplishment you get when you complete a project or because it’s inevitable—but because of the possibilities that can stem from it when people see your work.

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