Hi, I’m Candice Schlautmann, Graphic Designer and Web Developer for Outliers Creative, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The MC Family of Companies, LLC, and publishers of the magazine you’re reading.  I’m a Gillette native and a graduate of the CCHS Class of 2000. 

I recently moved back home to the 82717 after 16 years in Montana, where I earned my BFA in Graphic Design at Montana State University (Go Cats!).  Before joining OC, I spent 12 or so years working in the professional services industry – specifically in land development and civil engineering.  Then, I was a corporate in-house designer for an award-winning firm in Billings, Montana, where I spent four years crafting brand identities and websites for a variety of businesses, organizations, and causes.

What I (and my brain) love most about my job is solving problems.  I get to be artistic and creative as a graphic designer and analytical, logical and strategic as a web developer.  I think it’s natural to assign yourself as left-brained (logical) or right-brained (creative).  In our society, we have to put everything into a box!  For the longest time, I struggled with the fact that I didn’t fit into the left-brain box or the right-brain box – and it turns out there was a good reason.  Labeling or assigning individuals as “left-brained” or “right-brained” is absolute nonsense and not even supported by scientific evidence.

Neuroscientist Elizabeth Waters explains it best in her TedEd video The left brain vs. right brain myth.  Obviously, physically, your brain has a left region and a right region, and the different sides of the brain control different body functions; but problems arise when you apply this idea to logic and creativity.  So where did this idea come from?

Let’s take a quick trip to the mid-1800s. Two neurologists, Karl Wernicke and Paul Broca were examining two patients who were having problems communicating due to injuries to the left sides of their brains.  This led them to hypothesize that language was controlled by the left side.  This hypothesis caught the attention and imagination of author Robert Lewis Stevenson, who introduced the idea of a logical left hemisphere at odds with an emotional right hemisphere represented by ‘two characters in one’. He put pen to paper on this theory in a book you may have heard of, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

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So, how does this idea hold up for a person who is missing part of their brain?

Answer: It doesn’t.

The patients showed a range of behaviors, from logical to creative, despite missing that “part” of their brain.  Furthermore, there is zero evidence suggesting that a person has a “dominant” side of the brain, or that there is even a “left/right split” between logic and creativity. Of course, a person may tend to be more logical or more creative, but that doesn’t make them “left-brained” or “right-brained”, nor does it mean that they aren’t creative if logical or vice-versa.  Creativity and logic are not mutually exclusive nor “competing” with each other. It’s quite the opposite. Complex, logical frameworks can be found within works of art. Additionally, it takes a ton of creativity and the ability to “think outside the box” when solving complex mathematical equations.

“Being creative doesn’t equate only with creating fine art, such as painting a landscape or writing a symphony. There are many ways to be creative, and creating works of art is just one way. Creativity includes many things, for example, cooking, programming, interface design, and problem solving.” – Susan Weinschenk Ph.D.

Moral of this story: Everyone has the capacity to be creative and logical; you are limiting yourself by allowing yourself to be in a box that doesn’t exist.

If you feel trapped in a box, I hope this inspires you to climb out of it!  Be sure to check out 82717life.com/creativitytools where I share tools to improve both your artistic and technical creativity.

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About The Author

Little Designer on the Prairie and OC’s resident “unicorn” design/dev. When I’m not sketching logo concepts, polishing color palettes, or geeking out over all things WordPress, you can find me throwing back copious amounts of coffee while helping on my husband’s family’s cattle ranch just south of town off Highway 50.

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