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The Exquisite Corpse

by sarah • March 29

Sometimes as designers, it can be our innate tendency to lean towards “control freak”. We are driven to see our ideas through to the end in pursuit of perfection. While this work ethic can be an asset in many cases, sometimes letting go of the reigns can bring a in a fresh perspective on solving the problem. Loosening our grip can open us up to more unexpected and unique ideas, or help us cut to the chase faster when we’re stuck.

One of the best ways to pry our hands off the steering wheel is the good-old-fashioned Exquisite Corpse. It’s a game that requires participants to pass work back and forth rapidly, or along a chain to continue to build on the design in question. This can be incredibly powerful when it coincides with critical thinking and an eye towards the brief, but also a fun way to shake things up in the studio and give us all a laugh when things get stressful.

It’s also interesting to see the parallels with street art. Can this KAWS graffiti be considered an exquisite corpse build on the art direction of a Guess clothing ad? This KAWS-high-fashion combo was later embraced all over pop culture on many magazine covers. You never know, until you let go.