Inspiration

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Always pin your ideas to your office wall

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When I first started out, I was always encouraged to pin my ideas to my office wall. I used an A3 layout pad and a fat black Pentel marker and just scribbled down whatever came into my head. Once I thought that I had something, I’d draw a border around it, drive a pin through it and then watch my stroke of genius flap about on the office wall. All my ideas went up there and the guy I was working with, my art director, he would do the same. Within an hour or so we’d try and fill the wall with as many ideas as possible and as the day progressed our first thoughts were taken down and replaced by ideas that were a little more refined – the kind of thing we actually might decide to show people.

It was a very collaborative way of working. I’d look at the ideas my art director was putting up and see if I could do anything with it. Likewise he would look at my stuff and see if there was something there that might spark-off his thinking. The ideas we thought had most potential we put at the top and the lesser ideas moved towards the bin on the floor. This was a common way of working for creative teams in those days, and quite often we would visit another team down the corridor and have a look at their thinking pinned on the wall. Some suggestions and advice would be offered – perhaps a better image or maybe a tweak to the words here and there. Or a reminder if something had been done before.

It’s a great way for an ideas-based creative department to work. The thoughts and comments help tighten up your thinking and tell you if you’re going in the right direction, or up a blind alley. When everyone gets involved in everyone’s work, great things happen and it’s this kind of openness that nurtures a creative hothouse.

Given that creative environments are mostly open plan these days I’m not sure that it happens so much anymore. But tell us what happens at your agency.

@fountainjohn
 

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