Core Values


Core values for my creative business

How I identified and defined them

It seems that everyone is talking about the core values of their business recently, so I thought it was about time that I knuckled down & gave some serious thought to mine. Initially I found it quite hard as I stared into space while my brain scrabbled around for something to clutch on to. Surely I must have some, right? I can’t just be winging it from my gut? Or is a gut instinct the same as core values but just not translated into words?Maybe they are the same, but I wanted to have those words to see if they might help with the focus of my creativity and business as a whole. I pushed on in the spirit of learning and growth.

I started properly with the help of one of these on-line lists of potential values. (I used and made a list of all the words that struck a chord with me. On writing them out, I saw that I did in fact have a clear set of core values as I whittled hundreds of potential values down to 20 very quickly. I needed to aim for 7 though, apparently, to really focus in and get clarity, so I got my colouring pens out - I’ve always liked a bit of colour coding, I think it helps my brain organise itself. Hey, if it helps, it helps.


In my list of 20, there were some words that essentially meant, or stood for the same thing, for example ‘Quality’, ‘Skilfulness’ and ‘Craftsmanship’, so I coloured them the same and chose the word that felt the most true to represent them.

It wasn’t long before I had my 7 - it was putting them in order of importance that was tricky, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure i’ve got it right yet.

I did read though, that the order and in fact even the values can be subject to change as you develop your business, so I’m not stressing about it.

So, this is what I came up with for what I want to keep in mind as I develop and some of my clarifying notes :

  1. Craftsmanship - to be well made is key, with sensitivity to the material and detail & finish. High level of skill and a refined vision.

  2. Materiality - Working with mediums to show & celebrate material qualities. Bringing out contrasts of process and material. Working responsively to materials.

  3. Authenticity - Make work that is authentic to me rather than follow trends. To speak with my own voice in my work and practice.

  4. Originality - linked to authenticity - it’s important for me to make with a unique voice and one that has purpose born of my subject matter.

  5. Expressive - I like my work to express some kind of meaning for me. Rooted in reason - what am I trying to express/convey with each piece. Comes form subject core.

  6. Courage - Having courage to fail & be different. Pushing and dreaming forwards without boundaries & overcome fears/beliefs of what is possible. Bravery against judgement from others. Courage with materials builds confidence and knowledge.

  7. Growth - I enjoy learning, discovering, evolving and improving. Challenging my practice by setting new goals & pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

None of these core values were a surprise to me as I’ve always felt them in my gut, as I said before, but I have found it a useful exercise to provide a framework for experimentation and evaluation and to help build a vocabulary around my practice. Gut instincts are all well and good but being able to articulate it, well, that is part of my new goal. See, it’s working …that’s values 6 & 7 ticked off for today!

Have you identified your core values? Have you found it helpful? I’d love to know what they are and how they help you, so please comment below or DM me via Instagram @dianegriffinart