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Managing Diverse Creative Demands

Mike bell maps - films and bands tube maps
Mike Bell's Maps Gallery, Lewes, East Sussex

Balancing the diverse demands of being a 3D live event designer and a creator of unique maps is a challenge that requires a delicate blend of discipline, creativity, and time management. My recent career shifts, transitioning from a freelance show designer to also running a gallery in Lewes and creating maps, has taught me valuable lessons in juggling varied creative tasks, as well as embracing a few experiential tricks in my shop!

Embracing the Dichotomy of Design

My role in show design, showcased at, demands a certain type of creativity – one that is vibrant, dynamic, and often immediate. Contrastingly, creating detailed tube maps available at requires a different approach, one that is meticulous, thoughtful, and data-driven. Acknowledging and embracing these differences is key to effectively managing both.

Structuring the Creative Process

To handle these contrasting demands, I've learned to structure my creative process. This involves setting specific times for different tasks, creating a disciplined schedule that allows for focused work on each project. For instance, mornings might be dedicated to the intricate work of map design, while afternoons are reserved for the dynamic needs of show design.

Keeping the Creative Spark Alive

In a dual career path, there’s a risk of creative burnout. To avoid this, I make sure to set aside time for activities that rejuvenate my creativity. Whether it’s a walk through the picturesque Sussex countryside, a trip up to the smoke for galleries, or attending a local independent cinema (Picure House, Uckfield the Depot, Lewes): these activities provide the mental break needed to keep the creative spark alive.

Leveraging Cross-Project Inspiration

In the realm of creativity, drawing inspiration from diverse sources is crucial, especially when managing multiple projects. As a UK-based show and event designer who also delves into the intricate art of tube map creation, I, Mike Bell, have found a unique synergy between these seemingly disparate worlds. This cross-project inspiration is not just a creative exercise but a vital tool in my artistic arsenal.

The dynamic and visually stimulating environment of show design offers a plethora of ideas that often spill over into my map creations. Elements such as color schemes, spatial awareness, and storytelling techniques used in 3D design inadvertently influence the aesthetics and layout of my 2D maps. This cross-pollination enriches both fields, allowing me to explore new creative territories.

Adapting to Client Needs and Market Trends

Managing diverse creative demands also means staying adaptable to client needs and market trends. Each field – show design and map creation – has its unique clientele and trends. Keeping abreast of these changes and adapting my approach accordingly is crucial for success in both arenas.

Conclusion: Thriving in Creative Diversity

Ultimately, managing diverse creative demands is about finding balance and harmony in the chaos of creativity. It’s a dance of switching gears between different modes of thinking, staying organized yet flexible, and always being open to learning and adapting. As a freelancer, this diversity is not just a challenge but a source of strength and inspiration.

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