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Why Does Creative Freedom Matter to You?

Why Does Creative Freedom Matter to You?

Why Does Creative Freedom Matter to You?

The charge that technology inhibits Creative Freedom isn’t new. In 2009, Mark Boulton published his thoughts on the matter here. In fact, it’s such a sore point that the industry is riddled with “Designer vs Developer” debates. In his post, Mark pointed to issues like this as the root cause.

The problem is that technology—in this case a Drupal module, does actually inhibit Creative Freedom, by imposing the Developer’s needs upon the Designer in the form of generated markup that is difficult to modify. Guilty as charged. Unfortunately this crime (maybe it’s only a misdemeanor but a crime nonetheless) is not uncommon.

NOT Creative Freedom:

  • Warring factions: designers vs developers
  • Limitations in the HTML (content) generated by the technology (content management)
  • Having to comply with a generic architecture because “it has to cope with many different uses”
  • “Themes”
  • Website Owners beholden to the diverging goals of the various folks who supposedly serve them
  • Anything that makes unique, individual expression of ideas difficult, or impossible

If nothing else, freeing the world of the above is enough reason to crusade for creative freedom. For a moment, let’s imagine:

  • Designers and developers can work together in harmony without getting in each other’s way
  • The content management generates whatever content you want, period.
  • The architecture is open and flexible enough to accomodate any use, without restriction
  • No “Themes”, just your very own markup
  • Website owners get exactly what they need, no more, no less - and YOU are empowered to deliver it to them, your way, whether you’re a designer or developer
  • Individual expression and freedom of choice are the minimum standard

I get chills down my spine when I think about such freedom—it means creativity and expression unleashed, it means limitless potential, and it means power and creative freedom for you.

So, does creative freedom matter to you? Please tell us why in the comments. Go ahead, express yourself :)

YJ helps build and maintain some of the busiest sites on the Internet. A former home builder, he's also a published author and has over 60 Film & TV credits including Dr. Who, Antitrust (where he played an Open Source developer, go figure), The Arrow and even a few things he'd rather you not see.


  1. Benjamin Morrison
    May 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM
    Having such creative freedom is just addicting... it does make the difficult decision of working in another CMS daunting! My ONE limitation with Modx is a lack of social media integration for user accounts in which user information is pulled into extended user fields... the ONLY reason I use Nationbuilder for some projects.

    1. Jim Killock
      May 18, 2013 at 02:44 PM
      It does matter, although I suspect other CMS's are getting better (or at least people find ways round these problems). For myself, the main advantage MODX gives is rapid redesign and creation of project sites. That is useful. What it brings in part is low overhead.

      I'd like to see and hear a lot more about developer techniques and sysadmin / automation of deployment, these are areas we could do with knowing more about.

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