Labyrinth of Creativity

Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth — Edward Burne-Jones

The Labyrinth of Creativity; after reading the Theseus Adventure

The “creative” world is my labyrinth and the marketing/advertising gurus who are known to be a risk taker are my Theseus. I joined the master program in Advertising at Academy of Art wishing to become one of those heroes — who can fight bravely against Minotaur-size problems and earn my own Ariadne to conquer the labyrinth of creativity.

The journey of the creatives usually starts with the client’s request, just like Theseus started his own from the order of Aegeus, the king of Athens. In an extended view, a client doesn’t necessarily have to be a person who hires you: anyone who authorizes you with the responsibility or initiates your journey can be your client. However, you shouldn’t confuse this with what you are working for. Theseus didn’t kill the Minotaur for merely pleasing his father, but for saving the lives of the sacrificial virgins. Likewise, even though the person who finally confirms your work is your client, the final destination of your work is people and their daily life. Knowing this difference makes a good hero, and a good creative.

Another tricky thing in this journey is knowing what you are fighting against. The labyrinth is, of course, a challenge. However if you only aim to survive from the labyrinth, you won’t be a hero — you have to kill Minotaur. In this sense, the labyrinth is the project, our creative process, and the Minotaur is the fundamental problem that you aim to solve through this project. If you ask me who is Daedalus in my narrative, I will just answer that the labyrinth of creativity is within our brain. Just like the Minotaur lives in the labyrinth, most of human problems stem from our complex thinking and emotions generated from our brain. That’s why we have to jump into the complex labyrinth of creativity to kill the problem. Both the labyrinth and the creative process are confusing with so many dead-end paths, but we all know that there IS a way out. In my working experience as a junior, I’ve witnessed some mediocre projects where the team couldn’t solve the problem but barely wrapped up the project with the half-satisfied client left behind. The real hero of the labyrinth of creativity is the one who could complete the project AND come up with the real solution.

Lastly, the Ariadne of creativity can be your intuition, experiences, knowledge, people around you — anything that inspires you to reach the one idea that you are looking for. Just like Theseus grabbed a hold of the string the whole time, your effort and practice to be the ‘creative’ hero should be a non-stop activity.

Originally published at on January 3, 2016.




A Foreign Girl in San Francisco | UX Design Researcher & English-Korean Translator

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Juwon Kang Taylor

Juwon Kang Taylor

A Foreign Girl in San Francisco | UX Design Researcher & English-Korean Translator

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