Monday, 01 September 2014
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Creative economy

We asked eight creatives whether their approach to delivering work has altered significantly following the economic downturn, and how they motivate their team. The verdict shows unanimous resilience. No budget? No problem. Effective partnerships and big, challenging ideas are most important

Alan Herron

Alan Herron, Creative director, True North

Coming up with consistently good ideas and executions has always been tough. In fact, I hate anyone who makes it look easy. So I’m not sure it is any more difficult designing in a recession. My motivation is simple: do a better job each time. It is the mark of the good designer to be able to create within the constraints of the brief and budget - and being able to eke-out the maximum value from each of those is the mark of a great designer.

James Hilton

James Hilton, Chief creative officer, AKQA

In a word: passion. Passion is its own driver, and without it you have nothing. The key to our success is the quality and passion of our people. This may sound like a flash of the obvious, but we don’t have to do great work, we want to do great work. We have a duty of care to our clients and to each other to make sure we are constantly striving to be the best. When you have passion, economically challenging times just aren’t so challenging.

Matt Beardsell

Matt Beardsell, Project director, Music

It is the relationship between client and consultancy that motivates us; behind every good piece of work is a good client. We develop our relationships by engaging both client and creative in the process of arriving at the correct brief. A proper understanding of the task at hand engenders trust, encourages the creative team and strengthens our resolve in searching for the correct solution to the problem.

Stuart Youngs

Stuart Youngs, Creative director, Purpose

While channel-hopping recently I came across the TV programme Run’s House. Although not my usual ’must-see TV’, it was there that I heard this little ditty: ’teamwork makes the dream work’. C’mon - it’s brilliant. I know it sounds obvious, but if you’re surrounded by the right people, those with different skills, perspectives, insights and experiences, you can supercharge creativity. That, coupled with a dose of ambition. After all, ’success breeds success’. Not sure where I I heard this - Gordon Gecko probably.

James Bull

James Bull, Founder, Moving Brands

It shouldn’t be hard to be consistently creative - you need to strive to be outstanding, regardless of budget or time limitations. History shows it is when society is challenged and the economy is in flux that some of the most important art, music and literature are created. I see no reason why this shouldn’t apply to the design industry. Less money doesn’t mean less creativity - it should inspire us. In a tough economy, it is vital for a consultancy to show flexibility and agility. In a sentence: focus on great creative output despite the budget, and find a way to facilitate it.

Bruce Duckworth

Bruce Duckworth, Co-founder, Turner Duckworth

Creativity needs some kind of end result to be motivating and satisfying. We all need to feel that some sort of personal progress has been made. The way to help that is a varied diet of large and small projects to ensure you don’t get bogged down. When work comes out, progress is made and confidence grows. And when confidence grows, it creates an atmosphere in which creativity thrives.

Mark Lester


Mark Lester, Creative director, Mark Studio

For us, creativity doesn’t really have anything to do with the economy. Financial restrictions can sometimes help focus the attention, but generally I reckon it’s more to do with having a relaxed and open mind. Ultimately, our creative motivation comes from a child-like need to show off to clients, with work that cuts through the ordinary and leaves them feeling excited and/or slightly nervous. Anything else and they’d be throwing their money away, which is unforgivable in any economic climate.

Oliver Maltby

Oliver Maltby, Creative director, The Chase

Even in hard times, clients still know the value of a good idea. Creativity has never been fiscally linked to budget, so think of a powerful way to help communicate for your client and it will be supported. And stay positive. Every project has creative potential, so go the extra mile and impress your client with the possibilities. If you get knocked back, try on the next, and the next…

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