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The ABC's of Contemporary Creatives


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Hello. My name is Tim Nolan. I head up BBH Labs and serve as the Interactive Group Creative Director at BBH New York. I have proudly served the Internet since 1996. I created this book along with my partner in crime, Jen Lu, a Creative Mutant currently working at Droga 5. We would like to thank Bernstein & Andriulli for granting us access to their amazing roster of talented illustrators and designers to make this endeavor come to life. This book is meant to be used as a point of inspiration through its words and images. It is also, by design, meant to be a fun piece of interactive media to enjoy. There is a lesson tucked away in that last sentence.

Published in: Design
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The ABC's of Contemporary Creatives

  1. 1. INTRODUCTIONHello. My name is Tim Nolan. I head up BBH Labs and serve as the Interactive GroupCreative Director at BBH New York. I have proudly served the Internet since 1996. I createdthis book along with my partner in crime, Jen Lu, a Creative Mutant currently workingat Droga 5. We would like to thank Bernstein & Andriulli for granting us access to theiramazing roster of talented illustrators and designers to make this endeavor come to life.This book is meant to be used as a point of inspiration through its words and images. It isalso, by design, meant to be a fun piece of interactive media to enjoy.There is a lesson tucked away in that last sentence.
  2. 2. This book is simply a way to unite those two worlds.Enjoy.Today’s contemporary creative not only needs to bea clever storyteller, but also wise to the means that areavailable to them to tell such narratives.tim & jen@Universalscene
  3. 3. FOREWORD 1What does it mean to be a creative these days? It’s almost impossible to answer this. Thetasks of a creative are unrecognizable from as little as five years ago. You must decidewhether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly the days of easy three week shootsin the Caribbean are long gone. But when has an advertising creative ever had thechance to make a physical product from scratch? To really make something?Some would argue clients have never been more conservative but some guy just fellfrom space for a can of pop with no guarantee that his brains wouldn’t splatter across amillion screens. It seems it’s wise to be foolish.One thing a creative does need to be is a hustler. There are no easy briefs any more. Youhave to fight for the crazy stuff. But I honestly believe in a more uniform and conservativeworld, weird stands out. Look at GaGa.When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Is that what we are, professional weirdos?I can live with that.james cooper“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it wasthe age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”
  4. 4. “Creativity” is a loaded word like “war” or “god” or “child.” It has a lot in common withthese words too – for it’s a mix of heavy burden and a blinding belief in our own potentialto invent.“Creative” is too often reserved for people who are quirky, strange, tattooed and/ormustachioed. But in truth, everyone is creative with the way they solve the needs of thecontemporary world – be they juggling numbers, whittling a good spear, or even in theconjuring of creative design and advertising.The Contemporary Creative has the ability to excite all of these with ease, telling storiesand inciting action. Those before us molded clay, steel, and wood, but we flex ourpower with pixels and clicks, flash frames and light, code strings and sensors. We aremanipulators, hopefully for good.The one trick pony creative no longer exists; instant death comes to those with narrow-minds, parochial interests or inflexibility. Inquisitiveness, fearlessness and an insatiablethirst for The New are the only real mandates for today’s creative minds.So feed your inner child. Create something from nothing. It’s a war of the senses.david schwarzWhat we’re talking about here is indeed creativity in thevisual, interactive and social-psychological senses.FOREWORD 2
  5. 5. FOREWORD 3There’s also dogs dressed in menswear, men dressed as women spouting phrases womensay, diagrams of famous one-liners and the movies of Wes Anderson that most representyou, purposefully misquoted inspirational images meant to inspire rage, and of course,rage comics. There’s also the chest-pounding fear of irrelevance that the Internet, a.k.a.the greatest unleashing of creativity in the history of our species, gives you as you stareface-forward into a future that doesn’t necessarily need you, populated by people thatthink they don’t want you, while you grapple to steer a brand managed by adults whoseaim it is to remain invisible in their corner office. But mostly, cats on the internet.Being a “contemporary creative” doesn’t involve as muchcats on the internet as one might suspect.bud caddell
  6. 6. FOREWORD 4Nice soundbite, that. And like most soundbites, half true, half full of shit.Why it’s half shit? You can be and do whatever you want creatively. There is absolutely noright or wrong, just expression or no expression. That’s the goddamn beauty of it.Why it’s half true? If you want to have an impact, to have other people see or hear orexperience your creativity, it’s a good idea to understand the times you’re living in, themediums and formats that are resonating with people, and understand the tools thatare available to bring your expressions to life. Know those, and all that creativity insidehas a chance to be seen, experienced, and shared. Which makes you a creative personof your time, a ‘contemporary creative’ so to speak.You can’t be of your time creatively if you’re behind inhow you can express it.john patroulis
  7. 7. FOREWORD 5Having an idea is often the easy bit. Making it actually happen is almost always thehard bit. Thomas Edison, who still holds the world record for the most number of patents,described genius as “one percent inspiration, 99% perspiration.”To this extent, the contemporary creative has never had it better. From prototyping withArduino to 3D printing to launching a business through Kickstarter, technology has madeit much easier to make things happen.At the same time, it has never been more challenging to be creative. It is no longerenough just to be curious and to be inspired by your surroundings - the contemporarycreative now needs to become part of those surroundings. Not an observer but aparticipant. Not just a writer or art director but a blogger, publisher, writer of code, adesigner and salesperson of your own products. To be creative today, you have to beversatile. You have to be a hybrid.daniele fiandacaHowever, despite the speed of technological advancement,one thing still holds true – understanding people and how tomove them emotionally is the hardest thing of all.
  8. 8. ABCDEFGandrew raebigshot toyworksjulene harrisongavin potenzaandrew banneckerdan craigrizon pareinHIJKLMNtristan eatonilovedustgary basemandebaserharriet russelldavid welkernomoco
  9. 9. OPQRSTUadam hayesrod huntam i collectiveradiojeff nishinakacraig wardcarbon studioVWXYZpale horsevasavanathan foxyuko shimizushotopop
  10. 10. AAPIis forandrew raepen & ink, digitalApplication Programming Interface. Applications on the Webprovide back doors to a wide range of valuable contentand data. It’s time now to imagine what the API of a brandwould look like. How will you open this API to consumers?(Application Programming Interface)
  11. 11. BBETAis forbigshot toyworksdigital 3DLove the beta. Embrace launching early and testing in areal world environment. Your consumer base is your besttesting ground.
  12. 12. CCRAFTis forjulene harrisonpaper-cutIdeas and technology do not make for compellingadvertising without a level of craft. This is something thatshould be considered timeless.
  13. 13. DDATA MININGis forgavin potenzadigitalData mining is at the very core of what the Internet doesbest. Google revolutionized the process with the launch oftheir search engine in March of 1996.
  14. 14. EENGAGEMENTis forandrew banneckerdigitalEngagement mapping is a means of assessing thecontribution of different media touch-points to an eventualconversion. It allows advertisers to look beyond the ‘last click’model of online measurement and award credit to all otheractivity that a consumer encountered before this point.
  15. 15. FFUNis fordan craigdigitalDo what you love and love what you do. This will naturallytranslate into your work.
  16. 16. GGEOLOCATIONis forrizon pareindigital 3DThe digital space need not be cold and impersonal,content can dynamically be tailored for the consumerwherever they are located. Fish where the fish are.
  17. 17. HHYBRIDis fortristan eatondigitalMashup culture, cross trained professionals, and hactivismare all fine examples of modern day hybrids. Traditionalcreatives are being forced to embrace digital or riskbecoming irrelevant. On the flip side digital savvy creativesneed to learn how to extend their platforms into thetelevision, print and, at times, radio channels.
  18. 18. IINTEGRATIONis forilovedustdigitalIdeas need to be able to live across all channels seamlesslyas a cohesive message. They cannot be forced. Eachplatform has its own nuances and the content that iscreated for them needs to feel native to the place where itwill live until it reaches the consumer.
  19. 19. JJQUERYis forgary basemanacrylicThere are more ways to move elements on the pagebesides flash. There are a number of JavaScript frameworksthat enable your content to come to life whether it is adesktop, mobile, or tablet based experience. Get familiar.
  20. 20. fordebaserdigitalKeep it Simple, Stupid. The idea may be an old one, butit still rings true today. At times the simplest of ideas canunlock the biggest returns.
  21. 21. LLEARNINGis forharriet russellpen & ink, collage, digital“Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look aroundsometimes, you might miss it.” - Ferris Bueller
  22. 22. MMOBILEis fordavid welkerscratchboardThis is where most consumers engage with the Internet andthis number will continue to grow as more and more devicesbecome Internet aware. Stay on your feet.
  23. 23. NNARRATIVEis fornomocowatercolorNo matter how much the media landscape shifts andchanges, and no matter what the current platform may be,the narrative still connects the consumer to the message.
  24. 24. OOPEN SOURCEis foradam hayespen & inkThis notion should extend past software and code culture.Your process and your whole methodology should be lookedat as open source. Share and share alike.
  25. 25. PPLATFORM PRODUCTS PROGRAMSis forrod huntdigitalCampaigns are inherently built with limited life spans. They aremeant to serve as short term engagements. Platforms, products,and programs tend to live a longer, healthier life by nature.
  26. 26. QQUESTIONSis foram i collectivedigitalYou should be asking these of everyone every single day. Hereis one for you: Did you learn anything from reading this book?
  27. 27. RREAL TIMEis forradiodigitalWhen an event or function is processed instantaneously, itis said to occur in real time. Your creative process needs towork in this same way. It is also something to consider whenplanning for your audience to interact with your work.
  28. 28. SSOCIALis forjeff nishinakapaper sculptureBroadcasting nowadays includes some help from theaudience. Successful work, if embraced by the public willnaturally be amplified by those that consume it.
  29. 29. TTACTILEis forcraig wardpaper sculptureDigital work should lure the user in. Create work that peoplewant to engage with. Understand the platform and makesomething that does more than sell a product. Sell theaudience an experience, no matter how large or small.Always ask yourself, “Would I spend time with this?”
  30. 30. UUSER EXPERIENCEis forcarbon studiodigitalRemember who your work is being crafted to reach.Be conscious of how they will encounter, engage, andconsume your project. Then design that experienceaccordingly. UX is often the invisible layer of design.
  31. 31. VVERSATILEis forpale horsedigitalBe nimble. Never pitch the same idea twice. Continue toinnovate in the way you think and continue to innovate inthe way you approach problems. Keeping on the notionof versatility, make sure your ideas are versatile enoughto coexist across all media platforms. Fragmentation is athing of the past.
  32. 32. WWONDERis forvasavadigitalCreativity relies on wonder. It gives the audience the abilityto associate themselves with your work. It opens the doors toimagination, and creates the connection between the ideaand the consumer.
  33. 33. XXMLis fornathan foxdigital inks and colorExtensible Markup Language. What is important about XMLis that it is a language that both humans and machinesunderstand. Be sure your creative ideas are as flexibleas this language, as most brand platforms need to beunderstood by both humans and computers alike.
  34. 34. YYOUis foryuko shimizupen & ink, digitalIt is up to you as a contemporary creative to explore newavenues. It is up to you to learn every day. The medialandscape as we all know is in constant flux. New technologieslaunch themselves into the world everyday, find a way toaggregate a personal news feed, and keep learning.
  35. 35. ZZEITGEISTis forshotopoppen & ink, digitalBe a spirit of the times. Immerse yourself in all thingscontemporary. This will give you a wider lens to look throughwhen conceptualizing creative. Stay in the now.
  36. 36. agents:Howard Bernstein, Louisa St. Pierre, Francine RosenfeldMatthew LeBaron, Aaron Barr, Dan Ouyangdesigned by shotopopbernstein & andriulli58 West 40th Street, NYC 10018BA-REPS.COMINFO@BA-REPS.COM+1 212 682 1490TWITTER.COM/BAREPSBAREPS.TUMBLR.COM© 2013 bernstein & andriulli inc.The entire contents of this book are the copyright of Bernstein & Andriulli Inc &Universalscene. In addition, the copyright of the individual illustrations herein remain withthe artist or client unless otherwise shown. No part of this book may be reproduced, inwhole or in part, in any form whether mechanical or electronic or stored or in a retrievalsystem without prior written permission from the copyright holder.written by tim nolan