The White Stripes have just announced the end of their run as a band. And with a little sadness, I reflect upon the muse of Jack and Meg and their effect on my journey as a designer. “Little Room” off of the album White Blood Cells is a deliciously simple song – just 50 seconds of drums and vocals – that pretty much sums up the truth of the creative struggle and the stakes of finding a flow.

When I was digging into Omnigraffle on the iPad last year, this song is what I flowed out, which you can view here:

Little Room song diagram

Little Room

Creation, building something, can take on it’s own momentum and complexity will inevitably weigh in. This song is a reminder to not let the process take you, remember the purpose, the goals, the soul of what drove you (or the team or the project) in the first place.

The White Stripes are Artists but they also had the deft sensibilities of a Designer. Every song, every album cover, is a story and a study in reductive elegance. It’s fitting that their second album name is De Stijl. Red. Black. White. “…a backyard with nothing in it, except a stick, a dog and box with something in it”. The White Stripes show time and again that a simple palette and a deceptively banal scene can hang intrigue on its bones and invite a deeper gaze. While rocking out.

Find the story and magnify in the purest form possible what matters. That is my inspiration from The White Stripes and the challenge for all designers.

“I guess you have to have a problem if you want to invent a contraption…”

“Effect and Cause”
The White Stripes

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