Knolling is a design meme that involves removing distractions and grouping like objects together at 90 degree angles to create a neat and aesthetically pleasing workspace. The term was first coined in 1987 (incidentally the year I was born but that’s not important) by Andrew Kromelow but has evolved over time thanks to artist Tom Sachs.
Does it work? Does clearing and rearranging your desk make for a more creative and productive environment?
I wanted to know, so I tried it.
First off, I want to start by saying that I am a clutterbug and love having all of my things around me so as much as I’m intrigued by knolling I’d still feel a twinge of regret as I put an old rice cracker in the bin. (“But what if I need it?!”)
Here’s a picture of my (very grown up) work space, pre knoll…
- Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
- Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
- Group all ‘like’ objects.
- Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.
So I followed the steps with gusto, but had to deal with a hard decision halfway through about whether to group my whiteboard pens into colour or type.
(In case you’re wondering, I went for type, followed by colour)
Here’s the finished product.
So here’s the thing, am I feeling more creative? I am actually. As procrastination is generally considered to be a good thing for creativity, I can honestly say that spending ten minutes a day lining up pens in silence is a sort of meditation only with stationary.
If you fancy knolling, tweet pictures of you efforts at us on Twitter so we can fangirl/fanboy over your clean lines and sexy desks.