Troy-Oliver Peffers


Bachelor of Design Publication Community engagement

Self-imposed restrictions

My aim is to create an honest design that balances function, emotion and realism. I believe that the work of a designer is to interpret culture, communicate clearly and encourage debate. My design process is interactive and iterative, there are many layers that need to come together. A good design will speak for itself.

Constraints play a vital and increasingly important role in the design process. In this publication, I have tried to show how the philosophy and practice of self-imposed constraints can serve to inform and improve understanding of design processes. These constraints may at times lead us down challenging paths, but importantly they can also lead us down paths to something new and original. The case examples I have used all highlight the interplay between different types of constraints to define opportunities for promoting creative originality. It is a design philosophy that I would like to study by putting into practice in everything that I do.

In this publication, I have set myself rules to challenge my creativity and design process. This is known as the self-imposed restrictions theory, which suggests that design constraints or limitations can improve creativity. I am interested in this theory because as designers we are constantly faced with constraints in our design process. Many of these come from clients; like time, cost, brand and media, whilst other may be self-imposed—for example choosing to work with specific typeface or colour palette.

It is intuitive to view these constraints as having a negative impact on the creative process because they restrict what we are allowed to do. However, in my design practices, I have struggled with having too much choice. I find being given a blank canvas and told to design whatever I want quite challenging at times because there are so many decisions to make. The more options there are the more difficult it can be to choose. In contrast, when you have a brief with limitations many of these decisions have already been made. The concept that limitations are a source of creativity is something I am excited to explore in my own practice.