On most of my online biographies you will see me described as a “creative”. There are, of course, those who would say creative is a verb and not a noun. You can be creative, you can be a creative. I describe myself as a creative because I create in video form. I pursue a life of creativity, which sounds unbelievably pompous. I did though begin to think about what it means to be creative and what does it mean when people ask you to “surprise us, be creative”.
- Creative Carte Blanch. When a client gives you an open brief and asks you to be creative and surprise almost certainly that is not what they want you to do. Go ahead, create something completely out of left field and see their reaction. It probably won’t be the one you were hoping for. Coming up with something completely new does not mean abandoning their, no doubt hard won, brand recognition. It’s about being creative within what is already known and exists.
- Creativity is not plucked out of thin air. No doubt somebody somewhere has been hit with the metaphorical lightening bolt of inspiration. Coming up with an idea that has truly never been done before. I think that scenario is as rare as hens teeth. People who are really creative are those who are immersed in creativity in general and the creativity of their chosen discipline in particular. If you want to be a good writer you must read, to be a good film maker you need to watch the masters of the art at work. No creativity takes place in or emerges from a vacuum.
- One person’s creativity is another shrug of the shoulders. True, there are some objective criteria on which something could be judged but generally we respond subjectively. “Do I like it” or in the words of ex England manager Graham Taylor, “Do I not like that.” If some people do like your effort or indeed hate it, it does not mean what you have created is without merit. Just not to them at that moment.
- No one has a monopoly on creativity. I describe myself as a creative but there are people for whom creative is a job title. “I’m the chief creative at XYZ Agency”. Having a creative does not mean other people can’t be creative because they can. There are some people who would be quick to say they haven’t a creative bone in their body. It might not be their prime skill but they can still have creative thoughts. People say they could never write a book because they have no imagination. Yet millions of people every week construct an elaborate story of wealth, super cars, large houses and holidays every week. Only to see it dashed as soon as they checked heir lottery ticket.
- Creativity is never easy. Brilliant ideas emerge from the battlefield of creative hit and miss.