Discover more from I Code It
Playing with Pokemon and Ideas
How Simple Elements Lead to Creative Breakthroughs
Hey, my name is Juntao. I am a developer, a YouTuber and an author. I help people write better code. In this SubStack, I share tips and tricks I've learned along the way, including best practices for writing clean code, techniques for effective refactoring, and strategies for implementing TDD in your projects.
I'll also share some of my favourite productivity tips for staying organized and efficient so that you can be your best developer.
My daughter has recently developed a keen interest in Pokemon. After buying her a set of cards, I noticed she's not just carrying them everywhere—even on our walks—but she's also categorizing them by colour, features, and so on. More intriguingly, she's begun crafting her own creations.
Her first attempts involved drawing new Pokemon inspired by the existing ones she had on her cards, like a flying kitten or a poisonous bird. However, she soon hit a creative wall and struggled to come up with new concepts.
This experience reminded me of my early days learning data visualization. At first, it seemed that the creators of great visualizations were uniquely talented and able to effortlessly present data in creative, elegant, and functional ways. But as I delved deeper, I realized that this wasn't the whole truth. While talent can make things easier, the real key lies in understanding the basic building blocks of the craft. Once you grasp these essentials, the task becomes much simpler.
I explored these principles in an article a few years ago, and I believe the core concept still stands: break things down to their most basic elements, analyze them, and then experiment with various combinations to create something new.
Breaking down the whole
I decided to apply this approach to my daughter's Pokemon design endeavors. We began by identifying the fundamental elements involved: shapes, colours, textures, sizes, and positions. Starting simply, I asked her to enumerate the combinations possible with just two shapes: a circle and a square.
Next, we factored in colours. With just red and green as options, how many combinations could we create using the circle and square shapes? She quickly realized that the possibilities expanded exponentially with each new element introduced.
Experimenting Qwilfish variations
To make it practical, we picked up a Pokemon card—specifically, a Qwilfish—and dissected it into its basic components: shapes, colours, and textures. It featured a rounded body, triangular eyes, and spiky protrusions.
By applying what we'd learned, it became evident how easy it was to vary these elements. We could alter the shapes, experiment with colours and textures, and even make modifications like adding wings or a beak. The potential combinations seemed almost endless.
If you find yourself stuck creatively, especially in visual design, consider dissecting your subject into its essential elements. By recombining them in new ways, you'll be amazed at the flood of fresh ideas that emerge.