I was invited to attend ADMA’s Festival of Marketing, Media, Analytics and Advertising, which I was very thankful for. So on Thursday 6 August I attended the Creative Fuel Conference at the Seymour Centre at Sydney University. It was held in a huge auditorium after an appetising breakfast and in four consecutive blocks with grouped speakers.
The first block consisted of Billy Sorrentino, the Creative Director of WIRED – and what was drilled into us was that WIRED is not a magazine, it’s a design, with good evidence to back it up, of course. He talked about the design being influenced by Dieter Rams, a design guru that inspired content design. He mentioned 10 basic principles we should have about good design:
- Good design is innovative
- Makes a product useful
- It’s aesthetic
- Makes it understandable
- Is unobtrusive and not invisible
- Is honest
- Is long-lasting
- Is thorough down to the last detail
- Is environmentally friendly
- Has little design as possible
And this fantastic catch phrase: design is an experience and not an image! I’ll never look at a magazine ever the same again! Sorrentino also talked about giving a new experience to the audience, and adding value – and that’s where from print publication we have the fantastic and multiple dimensions of the digital online world. Design becomes a philosophy instead of an execution where images, iconography and typography would not create a sense of hierarchy, insead, the scalability of things can be changed around constantly, every minute of the day, and each time, create a new experience for the audience. He also talked about creative thinkers coming together and comparing processes and learning from each other. This idea reminds me of my Big History unit I did in my third year of my BA degree where David Christian talked about humankind being innovative thinkers and that by collaborating together, we exchange networks of knowledge to one another and it’s called collective learning. This world system was shown profoundly well with WIRED’s March 2015 Issue about Sex in the Digital Age, where they had to rethink the design of the cover to make it engaging, not too raunchy, not medically sage, and yet educational. And they came up with this.
Brilliant isn’t it? So design, after all this, is about making an experience, and if we are right and pure about it, then it’s for everyone, thus making it relatable and marketable and worthy.
And then there was Graeme Simsion, the author of The Rosie Project (which I’m aiming to read!) and his partner, Dr Anne Buist, the author of Medea’s Curse who talked next. They were a lovely couple reclining on comfortable sofas and talking about the creative genius, conception, development, progression, and publication of their novels. They gave terrific advice about making writing a routine, always writing a first draft by never stopping (you can go back to fix mistakes later, just get it out of your head and onto the page), and to always think about the reader and the emotions you want to play with – using intensity, suspense, prolonging, foreboding and so on. All of their advice was useful, however, I already knew about these tips from studying creative writing, and it was just beautiful music to my ears. Although, I loved it when they spoke about that there’s a lot of discipline in writing, and that with writers, our creative process is to plan the book, and think, write, and let it incubate. Love that word, incubate, like mother hens sitting on their eggs, waiting for their darlings to hatch. And last of all, that of course no idea is original anymore, however, if you put Idea A and Idea B together, you have something unique! So keep that in mind.
There were some other great speakers as well, like Vin Farrell, the Global Chief Content Officer of Havas Worldwide, who spoke about capturing an experience on your Instagram using your iPhone and how it can build a business. Our iPhones are tools. Then there was Tania De Jong, Founder and CEO of Creative Universe of Creativity Australia, who talked about that every human being is creative, even if they don’t believe it. If you can problem solve, that means you’re creative, you’re using your creative tool box – what an eye opener and simple way to think about things! And then she talked about how creativity leads to improved wellbeing, social inclusion, innovation, leadership, productivity and transformation – so I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job with my writing then. And the last thing she said was that we all need to use our creative voice.
Then there was Andrew Evans, Product Designer and Magician of IDEO, and his spectacular magic tricks and using a metaphor to tell us how magicians create impossible moments on a stage, which is what designers do too, they create impossible experiences in the world. And I can’t forget to mention David Shing, Digital Prophet of AOL, who spoke so brilliantly and fast that I was typing like a maniac to keep up with him and his amazing mind. He just kept going and going – nonstop, faster and faster about technology, content distribution, consumer ownership – how technology helps gives us control, digital alliance with the physical product, how marketing always follows audiences, how culture and code together gives us creativity, and that whenever you are going to fail in life, which we will all come across, fail forward – and that if you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!
Wow – what a miraculous day about the creative genius and harnessing your creative fuel. A huge inspiration and insight into the world of business, marketing, technology and advertising. A clear and clever day to get me motivated and writing.
Till next time,