People often ask me about the meaning behind the white pencil. Its meaning goes back to my early days as a graphic designer—those days when we had yet to begin using computers in order to develop design options for our clients. Everything we presented in those days, whether it be a logo, brochure or ad design, was created by hand. We actually used paper, rulers, markers and colored pencils—almost unheard of these days.
A close colleague of mine insisted that no matter what I did, in my mind the layout was never quite right. I would always reach for my white pencil to tweak, improve and perfect it. He claimed that I was an absolute perfectionist. And he was right...to some degree.
There is no such thing as absolute perfection. But I am a perfectionist in the sense that I am constantly striving to improve my craft. I am constantly studying the way light plays upon its subjects. I am constantly in search of that one expression that no one has ever noticed.
In a digital age, the pencil seems like a thing of the past, but to me it's a reminder that a click of a button does not guarantee successful creative results. Great ideas are born when a creative mind engages in uninhibited contemplation and a true willingness to explore.
What better way to lose all inhibition than to spend time with children.