Category: look at everything

Paying Attention

God has spoken to me.

Really.

The event wasn’t so much like Moses and the burning bush as it was something more like this:

Back in the late 90’s, when I worked at JWT, I had been plugging away on some pitch material for a few weeks. It had been a grind. This was back in the days before we had the luxury of having a color printer in the office, so every time I needed prints I had to run down to the nearest Kinkos. Needless to say, I got to be on a first name basis with those guys.

On this particular morning, I had finished up at the Kinkos far out on Westheimer about mid-morning. I was tired but felt good knowing that I was finished with the comps. Time to get back to the office. I hopped in my car and drove a couple of blocks when I heard this voice:

Michael, turn at the Half-Priced Books.

Who said that? Nobody but me in the car but me.

Coming up quickly was the Half-Priced Books, so I turned, parked and went inside. For the uninitiated, Half-Priced Books can be  hit-or-miss. Sometimes you find treasure troves of goodies but other times it is a barren wasteland of musty smelling books.

On this particular day it was a jackpot.

I walked directly to the section with the art and design books. There, sitting innocuously on a lower shelf was a first edition of George Lois’ The Art of Advertising in excellent condition. I picked up this unbelievable find and promptly bought it.

What a reward after such a long, arduous few weeks.

Had that voice not prompted me to take a break from life, I’d have never uncovered this hidden treasure.

Years later I had the privilege to meet Mr Lois at an Ad Fed luncheon in Houston. To this day I cannot imagine there were ever so many four letter words used in the Junior League presentation. After his talk, I had the opportunity to shake his hand and I told him this story about God talking to me. He was congenial. And a little tipsy.

I’ve been a Catholic my whole life, but I am far from religious. I try to practice what the church preaches but more often than not fall short. But this isn’t a story about church. Or belief in God for that matter. It’s a story about listening and paying attention.

I do believe in God. I do believe He speaks to you, but in ways you have to be willing to accept. You have to be open, ready and aware.

Where creative ideas come from has always been a mystery to me. This is a subject I’ve studied for years as it is my stock and trade. Sure, you can believe all the stuff you hear these days – the books, article on the internet, TED talks – but if you really want to know where good ideas come from, they come from somewhere else.

Maybe even Someone else.

But you have to be paying attention.

 

 

 

Week Links, #14

Proof That Design Is Good For Business, In 8 Statistics Design is being severely underutilized by manufacturers, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Dada Movement: 5 Lessons For Today’s Designers For us, art is not an end in itself, but an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.

The Rise Of The Content Artist … Vaynerchuk will be remembered as the one guy who banged down all barriers and pushed people in that direction. The guy who spoke in a language nobody at the time had heard of or seen before. Shakespeare did the same thing.

Craig Oldham on honest advice for graphic designers, industry frustrations and being yourself Just in time for a new wave of confused and bleary-eyed creative graduates, Craig Oldham – one of the most influential designers in the UK – will release his new book, Oh Sh*t… What Now?: Honest Advice for New Graphic Designers, published by Laurence King.

3 Steps to Create Magical Marketing No one will respond to any old email or marketing campaign anymore. You have to stand out, and stand out as an actual human.

Want to Be a Great Leader? Become A Psychologist First Being a leader is a very demanding task, both physically and mentally. You need to be a good business person as well as a great psychologist.

5 Simple Ways to Hack Instagram Marketing The social network is a marketer’s dream, but it’s filled with clutter. Use these creative ways to cut through the noise.

Tribute: A legend who was never dull, ordinary or safe Dave Trott remembers Paul Arden, the maverick creative who rose to become one of the British advertising industry’s great talents

Tech designers should be licensed, says Silicon Valley designer Mike Monteiro Technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and Snap Inc. employ some of the most sought-after designers in the world to help them build their products. These designers, using all the tools at their disposal, can wield enormous power, influencing what we click on, see, hear and buy. Their choices decide how we interact with the internet.

Why agencies must make room for innovation No duh.

Miles Young’s 13 Ad Predictions Making predictions can be a fool’s errand. David Ogilvy knew that, which is perhaps why, at the end of his famous book Ogilvy on Advertising, his list of 13 predictions for changes to come to the advertising world was preceded by a note stating that doing the list was not his idea, but his publisher’s.

The Real Business Value of Branding by Jonathan Fisher In a Harvard Business Review article penned by American Entrepreneur Dan Pallotta, one short sentence succinctly captures the essence of branding: “Brand is everything, and everything is brand.”

How To Design An Emotionally Intelligent PowerPoint Presentation It’s not about sleek graphics or the presentation software you use. It’s about whether the story you tell resonates with your audience’s needs.

In Defense of Design Thinking, Which Is Terrible

The Age Of Creativity Walk into any ad agency in the world and in 10 seconds something will become obvious. Everyone is young.

How Creative Agencies Can Compete with Consultancies – as Thought Leaders The “surge of suits” raiding the creative realm continues to expand, with four consultancies (Accenture Interactive, Deloitte Digital, IBM iX, and PwC Digital Services) now ranking among the world’s largest “ad agencies.”

How to Develop a Zen Mind 11 Lessons from Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Need to Get Your Message Across? 13 Essential Reasons to Use Visuals
Stop writing and start showing what you mean

Week links, #07

 

ETC

A new theory claims Homo sapiens beat out Neanderthals because of art
A new study published in the journal Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture proposes that our ancestors’ skill at art, as well as hunting, was essential to their ability to thrive. The study’s author, psychologist Richard Coss of the University of California-Davis, says there is “a causal relationship between the evolved ability of anatomically modern humans to throw spears accurately while hunting and their ability to draw representational images,” which is tied to the development of the parietal cortex in the brains of Homo sapiens. In other words, the art of hunting forced the evolution of humans.

Drawing May Have Helped Humans Develop As A Species
A new study suggests that for early humans, the hand-eye coordination necessary for hunting was the same that was needed for drawing.

How to start managing your energy levels instead of your time
The amout of energy you have should determine what you do

Writing Your Autobiography: What It Means to Truly Love Yourself
The stories that shape us shouldn’t define us

How Businesses Can Best Use Content Marketing to Generate Leads
New research on B2B companies highlights an effective way to bridge the gap between sales and marketing.

The Curiously Elastic Limits of Endurance
In an exclusive excerpt from his new book, Outside’s Sweat Science columnist explores the brain’s role in setting our physical limits.

Stay excited every day – Sairah Ashman on staying happy, and staying put.
Over the next few months, we will be chatting with some of the speakers who will be joining us at Collision. We’re joined today by Sairah Ashman, who will be speaking at creatiff. Sairah was recently promoted to CEO at Wolff Olins, the creative consultancy famously described by a McKinsey Partner as “the perfect blend of maths and magic”. We caught up with her to talk about how staying in the one company has its benefits, how tech and sociology overlap and why we should embrace AI with caution.

99 Reasons to Kill Your Dream? Accept the 1
You’re never going to be original, but that doesn’t matter anyway.

What I Look For
If you’re looking for a job at IDEO.org, read this.

ADVERTISING

WHY THE BREAKDOWN OF CREATIVE SILOS WILL SAVE MARKETING
Once upon a time, there was a creative industry with three different disciplines: marketing, advertising, and design. For a long time, these industries were happy. They were able to live in their own little houses, do their own thing, and occasionally talk and work with each other but then go back to their own private spaces and talk their own talk.

10 reasons why pitching is the biggest illusion of the 21st century
When I read an email with the line “you are invited to our pitch…”, or see more ‘refined’ phrases such as RFP or RFQ, I immediately assume that it’s going to be an intellectual stick-em-up. Created by an army of purchasing and pitching consultants, selling fake certainty to brands by approaching every collaboration as if they were buying Biros. Or worse: asking agencies for retainers and even kickbacks in case they are rewarded a loss-making contract after a long and expensive pitch process.

The end of the beginning of the end
Reacting to “the death of the ad agency” with some thoughts on creation, maintenance and destruction

Further gloom & doom…

It’s the End of Agencies As We Know It. Here’s Where We Go Next
Brands want streamlined partners who help them build trust

DESIGN

Why Joy is the Best Protest
Earlier this year, [IDEO] moved [their] Cambridge-based studio into a building in Central Square. We wanted to personalize our new home with some public art, but were uncertain about what final expression it should take, so we got started by slapping on a new coat of paint—transforming it from an oppressive gray brutalism to a welcoming white canvas. Then, a local connection, who shared our desire for more street art in Cambridge, suggested we look up Elton.

10 Laws Of UX, Illustrated
A handy guide for remembering Fitts’s Law, Jakob’s Law, and more.

Week links, #06

CREATIVITY

Who Is Robert Cialdini? Meet the Master of Influence and Persuasion
Dr. Robert Cialdini is the mind behind Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, one of the great and enduring works of social psychology, along with a number of other books, including Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Cialdini’s work is among the world’s best resources on how we persuade others and how we are persuaded.

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others
It’s not just your ability to draw a picture or design a product. We all need to think creatively in our daily lives, whether it’s figuring out how to make dinner using leftovers or fashioning a Halloween costume out of clothes in your closet. Creative tasks range from what researchers call “little-c” creativity – making a website, crafting a birthday present or coming up with a funny joke – to “Big-C” creativity: writing a speech, composing a poem or designing a scientific experiment.

The One Thing You Need to Generate Great Ideas
A drawing is worth a thousand words. That’s my version of the age-old adage. When it comes to expressing the functional and emotional merits of a new idea, I firmly believe you have to make it visual.

ADVERTISING

Check Out Adweek’s Instant Reviews of Every Ad in Super Bowl LII
See all the spots again, plus our thumbs up or thumbs down

It’s Time to Stop Devaluing Creativity
TBWA Worldwide’s CEO reflects on how tech is creating more room for big ideas

IAB CALLS BLOCKCHAIN ‘NATURAL FIT’ FOR DIGITAL VIDEO ADVERTISING
The IAB says blockchain technology “is a natural fit for the digital advertising supply chain” with potential to increase efficiency, reduce costs and eliminate fraud. Blockchain can also significantly reduce the number of queries that ad-tech systems need to make each second; ensure that premium video inventory is bought and sold reliably; reduce the number of suppliers and increase transparency, according to the IAB.

Far Too Many Creatives Are Wasting Their Energy on Drivel
Need I make any additional remarks?

INTERVIEW: Dave Trott
As far as creatives were concerned GGT stood for ‘someone beginning with ‘G’, Someone beginning with ‘G’ and DAVE TROTT’.

BUSINESS

The Future of the Chief Procurement Officer… Is already here.
CPOs (Chief Procurement Officers) is the function in charge of leading this transformation. Many leaders within the procurement world are ready to realize the change that lies ahead. This much is clear after hearing about the CPOs that praised coming disruptions and transformations within procurement at DITx. This is a new breed of CPO.

DESIGN

Becoming a More Thoughtful User Experience Designer
The difference between creating good experiences and amazing experiences often comes down to how thoughtful we can remain during the design process.

The ultimate guide to user experience
The secret to a good UX is not to make users have to think about what they’re doing: it should come naturally to them to find what they’re looking for and interact with your site. In a web design agency, user experience may be the responsibility of the team as a whole or a specific UX designer. There are even entire firms that specialise in user experience consultancy.

Interview with Barry Katz, IDEO first Fellow, on Design Thinking.
Barry Katz is IDEO’s first Fellow and Professor of Industrial and Interaction Design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and Consulting Professor in the Design Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Stanford. He is the author of six books, including (with Tim Brown) Change By Design, and most recently, Make it New: The History of Silicon Valley Design (MIT Press, 2015).

Future of Print: How Design Brought it Back from the Dead
When we were sitting on our family computers in the basement of our parent’s Midwestern homes, downloading music from Napster, Limewire, and What.cd, we had no idea we were part of a revolution—a way of getting and hearing music that would fundamentally change the industry forever. We eventually quit because it was illegal and not worth the viruses, but not before that fundamental shift occurred. Nearly twenty years later, we don’t even bother with owning digital files, we stream them from various services. And we collect vinyl.

ODDS & ENDS

We Are Our Own Typos
As Wired summarized the problem a few years ago: “The reason we don’t see our own typos is because what we see on the screen is competing with the version that exists in our heads.” They go on to explain that one of the great skills of our big brains is that we build mental maps of the world, but those maps are not always faithful to the actual world.

Quick side comment about typos: I accidentally left a typo in an article I posted on LinkedIn last weekend. It made me eternally happy when I got a note from someone notifying me of my mistake. Someone actually read what I wrote!

 

ADVERTISING

THE AD AGENCY OF THE FUTURE IS COMING. ARE YOU READY?
Clients Want One Partner to Simplify the Fragmentation and Data — and Today’s Shops May Not Be Among Them

How Mr. Potato Head Changed the Advertising Business
A story of goofy vegetables and the power of television.

How big agencies work, and how small agencies can beat them
If you’ve ever worked at a big agency, you’ll know that it can feel like running on a crazy treadmill — a never-ending series of pitches, award entries and late nights. But did you ever stop to wonder why?

How copywriters write copy
Copywriting, much like making an omelette, shoplifting or choosing an analogy, is one of those things that seems easier than it actually is.

Will it blend? Will it end?
Advertising’s creativity industry continues to struggle with itself.

Why ‘David Ogilvy’ must die
If there were a Mount Rushmore of the advertising industry, Ogilvy’s face would be immortalized upon it. I remain in awe of his talent and a big fan. I love David Ogilvy. That said, “David Ogilvy” must die.

And the follow-up…

His methods still matter – a response to ‘David Ogilvy must die’
… the suggestion that Ogilvy’s approach to marketing needs to shuffle off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and join the choir invisible is demonstrably false.

Something doesn’t ad up about America’s advertising market
Stockmarket investors are wrong to expect an enormous surge in advertising revenues

DESIGN

The New Walking Men Logo
The Fascinating Tale of a Rebranding tout en finesse

Working with a designer (four paths)
Most of us want to look good online, need a website, maybe even a logo. More and more individuals and organizations are discovering that they need to hire a professional.

Chain Letters: Sarah Doody

Design is never done

The Business Value of Design Pt. 3: Drive Engagement & Loyalty
Pt. 3 in our series exploring The Business Value of Design focuses on driving engagement and loyalty to maximize brand value.

CREATIVITY

Belief Versus Doubt — Welcome To The Creative Mind
You have the angelic you on one shoulder, and the devilish you on the other. The battle of right vs wrong, good vs evil, and confidence vs crisis.

WORK & LIFE

How To Create Your Own Rules at Work
Unfortunately, the culture in most workplaces does not encourage brilliance from its employees. Instead, it accepts the just enough to get by approach; this being the required amount to get your monthly pay cheque.

To Find Meaning in Your Work, Change How You Think About It
Why is it that some people can be extraordinarily well-paid and work in pampered settings but feel empty, while others can work in the sewers of New York City and feel fulfilled? Part of the answer is purpose.

The most powerful question of your life
We often try to find fulfilling relationships with others, without first having one with ourselves.