By Magnus Shaw
Well, I'm just having a look around. Being on the new Creativepool is rather like moving into a swanky new apartment, where all the furniture has arrived, your clothes neatly hung in the wardrobe and you've been carefully placed on the plush sofa. In short, it's all fabulously new and other people have done the heavy lifting.
I don't know these people by name, but I must extend a hearty congratulations to them anyway. It's fabulous. And when they say it's 'all about the work', they're not kidding.
I used to find looking at the work of other creatives a troubling experience. If the work was poor and the person was present, I'd be forced to pretend it was brilliant - unless I wanted to come off as an arrogant twonk (which usually I don't). If the work was great and the person was present, I'd feel a bit resentful that I hadn't done it. If the creative was absent, I'd just get angry about poor work and hyper-critical of good work. All of which is nuts.
Now the comfy slippers of middle-age have arrived, I'm completely over all that nonsense (as you can tell). These days, I thoroughly enjoy browsing projects generated by others - but have never found the ideal destination. Sites like Design Week, The Drum, Campaign and Creative Review are very attractive, but the work on show is highly selective and intermingled with news and editorial. It certainly can't be posted and tagged by those involved - so I've always felt I'm not getting the whole story. Likewise, in a big agency, you get to see others' projects evolve as you go about your business - but with little awareness of the brief or creative process. What's more, working from my desk at home as I now do, I have the opportunity to inspect nothing more than my own outpourings.
The concept underpinning the new CP is so obvious, so simple and so elegant, it's hard to believe no-one else is doing it. Happily, they're not and delightfully CP has made a tremendous job of it. (Perhaps I should point out that I don't work on the CP staff and the re-booted site wasn't my idea - so there's no personal trumpet blowing here).
Obviously, perusing creative work tends to be a very visual activity - and the appeal of the new site to designers and art directors is clear. However, I'm convinced that copywriters will find just as much to intrigue and stimulate.
As someone who spends most of his week tapping away alone, I know solo copywriting is always a challenge. Often I crave the chance to bounce an idea around with a fellow scribe, receive some feedback on a turn of phrase or simply have a like-minded companion there to spark off creative thoughts. Such is my burden. That said, strolling through an archive of past or current work is a very good substitute. I'm not talking about plagiarism, of course - just the opportunity to absorb the directions and approaches of my contemporaries. It's so easy to fall into a personal 'house style' and default to that, whatever you're writing - almost without realising it. Reading and enjoying copy created by others goes a long way to prevent this happening. It's not about copying, it's about being open to influences; having an awareness of alternative routes and different thinking.
Beyond these practical considerations, there's the curiosity factor. We're all fascinated by the notion that the country's creative collective is producing hundreds of ads, apps, websites and brand identities every week. Our creative instincts urge us to discover the good, bad and ugly being produced - partly to measure our own abilities, but mostly because there's genuine pleasure to be gleaned from the sheer variety and inventiveness on display.
I firmly believe excellent design, copy and creativity cannot exist in isolation. It requires the right environment - an environment built from the inspiration and influence of the work surrounding it.
The new Creativepool site will fulfil many purposes and succeed on many levels. But for me, it's real virtue lies in its ability to introduce thousands of creatives to each other's work - because talent loves company and there's no better way to drive up standards across the industry.
As they say 'It's all about the work'.
Magnus Shaw is a copywriter, blogger and consultant.