I’ve been writing a series of blog posts about creativity. (Read why here.) Next up ‘the Creatives’, who sound like a bunch of superheroes. But you probably don’t need me to tell you that the term refers to people in marketing or business generally who work on the design aspects of a project. You’d be unlikely to use the term in a not-for-profit or educational setting.
Proof that the are different kinds of creativity
It wouldn’t make sense to ask a Primary School teacher who ‘the Creatives’ are in his / her school. Every Primary School Teacher has to be creative by definition, but she or he isn’t necessarily producing professional looking designs – in other words we must be talking about different kinds of creativity.
It sometimes feels as if ‘the creatives’ refers to a secret or exclusive club, as if advertising and design were the only way to ‘be creative’ in business. Of course almost every aspect of business requires creative thinking. The Creatives might have the ‘secret sauce’ but they learnt it and practised it – same as anyone can. Online learning platforms like Udemy and FutureLearn make this even more accessible. In other words – it doesn’t have to be secret, and you can do it too!
The term ‘the Creatives’ reminds me of a guy I met on the dyslexia circuit – more here – he was speaking at the same event as I was. He’s called Chris Arnold. At the event Chris gave an inspiring talk about dyslexic thinking and creativity in advertising, and showed us some of the adverts he had made as part of a campaign to draw attention to the problems faced by dyslexics in education.
I think I also saw Chris being interviewed on a TV programme about ethics in advertising. I can’t find the clip but I’ll keep looking. If I find it I’ll add it here. He was talking about how the phrases ‘lower fat’ or ‘20% (etc) less fat’ can be used in a misleading way by advertisers, and how food can be dressed up in advertising to look healthy. So whenever I think of ‘the Creatives’ I think of a burger with a hole in it.
The burger with a hole in it
His example was a burger – called a Garden Burger from what I can remember – with a hole in the middle, which has less fat than a regular burger simply because it’s had a hole taken out. Certainly one perception of ‘creatives’ working in advertising is that they tend to mislead with the equivalent to ‘garden burgers’, giving ‘creative’ a shallow, cynical or unethical side. Of course that’s not necessarily the case – it depends what you’re selling, why you’re selling it, and how you’re selling it.
As usual is with stereotypes, listening to Chris – a particular example from the world of ‘the Creatives’ – gives the lie to some of the assumptions about them as a breed.
1. Find a course. Have a look at some of the online courses available (Tip: Udemy often have £10 and £15 sales, courses on FutureLearn are free) and preview a few that have good reviews. Try to nail down what it is you’d like to learn. Is it design? Is it writing snappy slogans? Or an appreciation of colour and branding?
2. Collect some ads. Take a look at some print and online adverts you really like – or even start a collection – what’s ‘creative’ about them? What do you admire? What could you emulate? Especially if you work in education or a not-for-profit – could you learn something about how ‘the Creatives’ communicate their message in a business setting?
3. Try it out. Start with WHY you want to communicate, then WHAT specifically you want to say, before moving on to HOW you’ll communicate (in images and words), WHERE you’ll communicate it and WHO will see your message.
Up next: Creatives Industries
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