Yes I’m a suit. Arguably this blog should make me less qualified to talk about creativity… but just hold that thought. Here’s three reasons why I understand creativity better than most:
I’ve been in this industry 16 years and worked at leading global agencies;
I am one half of the Truth brand partnership;
I’ve been married to the other half of the Truth brand for almost 13 years (this point is clearly the most compelling otherwise I probably wouldn’t still be married!).
LAW #1 – Great creative can come at any time.
Living and working with an award-winning designer has taught me that despite looming deadlines and timelines, creativity isn’t something you can simply plan for. There are countless occasions when Darren has dreamt a full brand identity, then arrived at the agency to put it down ‘on paper’. This is a classic example of why the price of creativity is about the brilliance of the idea, not necessarily the man hours spent. It’s taken him over 20 years to be able to do it this way.
LAW #2 – Designers think in pictures not words.
Sorry to say this, but they just don’t read briefs. This is the sole reason why the briefing is absolutely critical and what you say must be 100% accurate. It’s no use simply plonking a brief on a creative’s desk - you might as well wave it under their nose and walk away with it. When you talk them through the brief they’re working out what it looks like in their mind (in real time).
LAW #3 – DO NOT Second guess the client.
By all means challenge the brief when it lands. Question and double check the details, but resist the temptation to second guess the client and undermine the creativity. It stifles things, and whilst creative development is part of the course, it should be intuitive and developed inline with the needs of the business.
LAW #4 – Rationalise your work. ALWAYS.
If a designer, art director or copywriter cannot justify the reasons why they’ve done something the way they have then how can the creativity be appropriate? Without a strong rationale, account teams and clients lose faith and more importantly confidence in why they’re paying you. It’s about ensuring your work stands up in its own right and no one does that better than the originator of the work you’re presenting.
LAW #5 – Know when to compromise.
There’s a certain degree of science with creativity and that should always be the foundation, but rarely does a brand, advert or website not require some degree of compromise. The reasons, however, should always be commercial ones and not subjective. The former is valid and should impact the business in all the right ways, the latter means you’re selling to the client and that’s not necessarily the customer.
Five laws to live by. There’s probably a sixth in there about how to debrief to someone who’s laboured over a piece of creativity (and they love it like a small child), but if you follow law four then this one becomes less commonplace.