Natasha Jen on being creative during a crisis

For any creatives struggling through current events, Pentagram partner Natasha Jen has some calm words of wisdom – as well as thoughts on how the industry might be different post-coronavirus

Whether it’s the result of working from home, being away from your creative team, or just the anxiety-inducing onslaught of news, plenty of us are finding that creativity isn’t coming easy right now. But when CR asked Pentagram partner Natasha Jen how she was coping with the crisis, she gave us a helpful reminder that being creative is never straightforward – even when there isn’t a pandemic raging.

“For me, I never feel that I’m creative enough,” she said. “Whether it’s a good or bad day, there’s always this uncertainty about it, because it’s impossible to self-assess. I don’t think any designer in their right mind would sit there and say, ‘Oh, I am a creative person’. Creative people are a little neurotic to begin with, and I think that comes with a lot of uncertainty and doubt. There’s a lot of self-questioning that comes with being in the design business.”

Taken on its own, this might not seem especially comforting, but Jen makes a good point. Our relationship with creativity is fractious at the best of times, and it’s worth remembering this when global events heighten that stress. As she points out, being confined in our homes also puts extra pressure on. The usual daily distractions like taking the train to work, walking to the office, having lunch, or seeing other people, have all been removed.