Friday, February 26, 2010

What does creative look like?

A question I have been asking lately is "How'd you know you were creative?" In essence, what does being creative look like? I ask this because when I was young, I never knew that anything I was doing would be considered creative, much less be anything I could base a career off of.

I suspect there are a ton of young people who, just like I did, do all sorts of things in a creative fashion without ever realizing the potential of that creativity. For me, it was an insane interest in visual images from magazines. I'd spend hours and hours cutting out faces and cool type and interesting shots, then an equal amount of hours arranging and re-arranging them onto a wall-size cork board.

Here's what people are saying:
I doodled everywhere, on every paper when I was in grade school.
I've hand made cards ever since I was young.
I was always drawing cartoons and making comics.
People were always coming to me to write something for them, usually something funny.
I loved drama and performing.
I was drawing and painting all the time.

We might be called creative at a young age if we had a paintbrush in hand. Or if we were drawing cartoons. People tend to use the word creative to something tangible and "art-like."

It's when we do the not-so-obvious creative things like doodling or making crafts or ripping up magazines that we may not be called out as creative.
Yet it is and we are.

Pay attention to the subtle signs of creativity from when you were young. My guess is they're steering you toward a career where these skills can flourish.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Great Online Primer

Check out this very cool website from Aquent. At first you don't really know what it is. The design is black and white, kind of template-y. But once you start clicking, you see that is a primer about the online space. Definitions of interactive components and a (very cool) list of what jobs you'd need to create it.

It's the best primer I have ever seen to explain what people getting into the industry might really want to know about career possibilities. (Not to mention how super smart a staffing agency was to create something like this).

Here's a sample of the information Aquent provides.
Interactive Design:
Interactive Design is the process by which an idea is nurtured and cultivated to become a truly awesome online experience. Any experience, from a Web app to a full site, depends on it. The key to this winning formula is equal parts beauty, functionality and practicality, built on a solid layer of code to make it accessible and engaging.

You’ll need:

Interactive Designer
Interactive Designers are masters of the balance between form and function. They can design user interfaces that engage (and retain) visitors. They know what the latest tech can do, and they utilize every last drop of designer-y goodness to deliver an experience that is both easy to use and totally gorgeous.

Front End Developer
Front End Developers are the folks behind the curtain, utilizing the latest Web development standards and solid hands-on technical skills to create sites that function properly across a wide variety of browsers and platforms. They connect with Quality Control to ensure flawless execution. They make it work.

Interactive Copywriter
Interactive Copywriters are a rare breed of Copywriter. In addition to being funny, modest and gorgeous, they understand the intricacies of writing for the online world. They know how to write something as simple as a killer tagline, or as complex as an entire blogs worth of content. Quite useful, indeed.

Project Manager
Project Managers are the baking powder for your Interactive cake: you need one if it's going to rise. They coordinate the details of design and development, working directly with clients and resources to ensure on-time delivery. They also handle budget and staff management, taking even more off your plate.

User Experience
Developing fantastic user experience (UX) requires: user research, interaction design, information architecture, visual design, and usability testing. UX covers all of these, so your website or application is engaging and intuitive (oh and best of all increases sales, better conversion, and more).


Monday, February 1, 2010


I've never been laid off which, in advertising, is rare. Watching Lemonade, a short documentary about being laid off from a job in advertising, made me feel two conflicting emotions: depression and inspiration.

Depression first. I am the person doing those layoffs. Big fat ugh. I'm the one saying, "Can you come into my office for a minute?" knowing full well I am about to let the person go. Seeing how that feels from the other side hits a chord and not a fun one.

Then inspiration. Suddenly I want to be laid off. All this talk about finding your true self and living to your fullest is heartwarming. We all have a grander purpose in life beyond our jobs in advertising. I loved seeing people go after it. Very jealous.

Have a watch.