The smartphone is perhaps one of the most important tools for creativity in history. Never before has a bevy of tools and instruments been available for the capturing of ideas and the creation of content in one small device. The phrase "there's an app for that" truly fits when it comes to capture and creation. Songwriters have written entire records based on voice memos of song lyric and melody ideas. Photographers have ventured out into the great beyond with nothing but their iPhones as their camera and have returned with some stunning images. Graphic artists have used a handful of available design apps to mock up websites ideas, logo concepts, posters and other visual concepts using their smartphones. Writers and authors have jotted down plots, chapter outlines and the like using note-taking applications. All this again to say the smartphone is an incredibly useful tool in the hand of the creative individual.
On the days when I am not doing music or designing something, the camera on my iPhone becomes an instrument to which value cannot be assigned. If the saying "the best camera is the one you have with you" holds, and neither of those other two things are taking place, then my phone becomes my creative outlet and my favorite camera. I can't even describe how important, for the photographer, it is to find a couple really good camera applications. Some people have a favorite knife, Leatherman tool, flashlight, or other resource in their pocket or on their belt. For the on-the-go photographer, there is nothing better to have on your smartphone than a great camera application or two. For the writer, a good note-taking application. For the graphic designer, a good app for putting down some quick ideas whether visual or other. For the illustrator a good sketching or drawing application. The list goes on.
Creativity is something you need to exercise every single day, but whatever means possible. Today's smartphone has made that practice more accessible than ever.
For years the weapon of choice for the creatively inspired was a Moleskine journal, and you've probably seen them around (darn hipsters and their journals). And I'm not discounting the value of a journal. Not at all. I myself have 2; a large and a small and I always have one in my bag when I'm out. Sketches, ideas, lyrics and the like find their way into one of those journals. Heck, even my Bible is journaling Bible that looks like a big fat Moleskine. But, sometimes I don't carry my bag with me, and some people forget their journal of choice on their desk and this is where the smartphone comes in handy. Namely, because most of us always have our phone in our pocket and are so adamant about always having it on our person that it's the one thing we always have. When inspiration strikes, it's always nice to have something there for capturing the idea. If some of you are anything like me then you have issues with keeping those ideas simply locked away in your head until you can get them on paper or something else to help you remember them on down the road. I'm also becoming a fan of Field Notes, for those times when I don't want to carry a hardcover journal as they are smaller and take up less real estate in my pockets than my small Moleskine or even my iPhone. A Field Notes journal fits easily in my back pocket with my wallet.
The point still stands, not since the adoption of the journal has there been a better resource for capturing ideas. Our creative team has built entire stage sets built off ideas created and compiled on our iPhones and iPads. We've sat down over several lunch tables and everyone just slung their iPhones and iPads out on the table and went about connecting our ideas together. From there those concepts turn into more chiseled computer concepts and designs and eventually the final product. I've even concepts video shoots based on iPhone video and still imagery I shot.
It's crazy how much technology can either wreck our lives or enhance our lives. It's a fine line to tread, but when carefully handled can make us better in our respective crafts. I think anyone who knows me and is reading this now would not be surprised that I would view a smartphone in such a manner. Many a person has poked fun at me for my obsessive phone usage, and truthfully, they were right. For a very long time I was glued to my iPhone, and that was me treading on the wrong side of that fine line I spoke about a few lines ago. I've gotten better, primarily because I realized what side of the line I was on and that I needed to pay more attention to putting down that little device made of silicon, chips, and aluminum and get back to human interaction! But I can't shake the fact that that little device has been a participant in bringing some of my best ideas to life. I'm willing to bet there are some other folks out there who are in the same boat. So, never discount the creative outlet of that little smartphone rattling around in your pocket.
[above image shot and edited on an iPhone 5, except for text]