Steven was not hired at American Greetings for his design sensibility. He adds, “He hired
me because he wanted his family to work for him and he wanted me to head the creative.
The reality is that it’s a 2-billion dollar business and we’re going to do 120,000 pieces and it
has to sell at a certain sell-through and time. From the get go, I always saw design as this
process and recognize design as a powerful tool for achieving business opportunities and
goals.” Learn about American Greetings history click on next link
Creating A Creative Community Wherever You Are
He was also mourning leaving a creative community near Spruce Pine – northwest of
Asheville. Steven reminisces, “what a great community. Penland School is where I
discovered what being part of a creative community really is. It’s very inviting and thinking
about your creative questions – the conditions or the requirements or the circumstances for
success as a freelancer. You use the word ‘freelancer’ and in my mind I use the term
‘independent creative.’ In my mind – more than anything else it’s about community. It’s
about having the benefit – emotional, the professional, and sometimes even financial as a
reflection of oneself. It’s about the creative process – that noise in your head – not
between you and yourself – but amongst people who resonate with me is the single most
important element.” Steven expands the vision of creativity from an individual orientation to
one that incorporates community as part of a socially constructed process.
The idea of a creative individual as a lone, inspired genius imbued with almost mystical
powers is a carryover of the 19th century romantic tradition – and continues to this day.
Psychologist Ken Gergen reveals:
As Frank Barron sees it, this view of genius carries with it the metaphor of Genesis, or
God the creator. Thus, the praise we accord to creative genius, the sense of awe
that we sometimes experience, is subtly equivalent to an act of worship. In/spiration
carries traces of the Divine. This romantic view finds a home within the modernist
context of the 20th century. More specifically, with its emphasis on continuous
progress, modernist culture grants accolades to creative innovation. (Gergen, 2009,
This deification of the creative genius (e.g. Steve Jobs) eclipses the socially constructive
process of creativity where others work to co-create, research, design, move the vision
forward and share the experience with an audience or consumer.
The Dot.com Tanking Was Our Subprime Fiasco
Steven discusses his freelance path, “When MarchFIRST threw me overboard and the