5 Rules for Today’s Designers and Creatives

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The last ten years have seen a major shift in the way advertising, design, PR, and marketing is produced. Digital media has taken over, new ideas are taking charge, the old ways of doing things are being challenged. With these changing times, it seems prudent to look at some of the many rules or guidelines we have all followed over the years, and see if they need to be updated. Or in some cases, completely rewritten.

 

Great Work May Need an Interpreter

Designers and creatives everywhere may be puffing up their chests and ruffling their feathers at the very thought of this one. But, with technology moving so quickly, many of the people responsible for buying creative work are not those who will ever have to respond to it. The average 60-year-old CEO is not going to be using SnapChat with the frequency of a 14-year-old school kid. Great work that resonates with this target audience is going to be foreign to anyone who’s not in that demographic. So, it will need help to be sold in successfully. You may even use the phrase “if you don’t get it, that’s good. It’s not meant for you!”

Strive for Results      

While many creative people try and do both, or even the latter first, there is no denying the hunger that exists for awards. But doing work to win awards is not the point of the industry, just as doing work just to win an Oscar is not the point of acting. It’s time to put awards out of your mind. The work should be designed to do one thing well, and that is to get results for the client. Whether that’s more awareness, more sales, or more customers in the brick and mortar stores, the goal is to bring success to the client. If, after that has been achieved, the work is also considered award-worthy, then that’s a bonus. Awards are important to agencies because they help bring in, and retain, clients. They are needed. They are not the reason to do the work though, and focusing on them means shortchanging the client, and the work.

Review Work at a Glance   

This does not mean cutting corners, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s okay to briefly glance at the copy or art direction before publishing the work. BUT, the attention span of a modern consumer is much less that it used to be. When it comes to reviewing work for smart phones, billboards, tablets, leaflets, brochures, or anything else, you have a second or two to grab their attention.

Data Is for Everyone

Creative people, in whole, don’t like drilling down into numbers and statistics. That’s a job for the account teams. Let them rifle through the data, grab the most salient points, and present it with the creative brief. This was okay 30 years ago, but now, data is king. And there is so much of it, in so many different categories, that the time has come for the creative department to use it to its advantage. Don’t wait for the account team to give you small chunks of data that may or may not be useful. If you dig into the details as creatives, you will find new and exciting directions for your ideas. Big data is going to rule the advertising, design, and marketing industries for decades to come.

Work to Live

The advertising industry is almost proud of how hard it works its professionals. You are expected to put in 15-hour days, This must change. Advertising is not life-saving. It does not cure the world’s ills, and it does not enlighten us. It is there to sell products and services, and make a lot of people wealthy. There is no reason for the incessant grind, and clients must start to appreciate that. Most corporations ask their employees to work reasonable, 8-5 hours, and yet they expect the employees of ad and design agencies to sacrifice their social lives, and their sanity, for a product launch, a pitch, or a new initiative. It literally kills people. And it’s one of the reasons more creative people are going to in-house shops. The new rule should be working to create a good life, not living every day to work yourself into the ground.

 

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