07_Where Do I See Myself?
After last year's events, companies and employees alike are reconsidering their positioning both within their organisation and their own work-life balance. Gone are the years where you worked from 16 and retired at 50. Currently, my estimated retirement age with a stable job path is 78. Considering I already feel about 40 mentally, 78 seems a far way off to ‘wait to retire’ so I may as well strive to find a career that enriches and rewards my life. This of course is a privilege to be able to achieve but is still an important factor when considering any decision going forward.
“Creative without strategy is called ‘art.’ Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising.”
– Jef I. Richards
I know I thrive off creative conversation and collaboration and so for the immediate future, I hope to stay within larger organisations, learn from others, build up creative networks and hone my craft and creative abilities.
Aside from this, where I once put the high pace higher tension work-life portrayed in MadMen, I’m now beginning to understand instead of fame, fortune, and recognition, I can achieve a much rewarding life and occupational path by surrounding myself with positive people and creative influences. Regardless of scale or prestige.
And in saying this, I look to work in places that value their staff and allow for autonomy. Where creative play and humor are placed high on the agenda and social consciousness and sustainability are active factors in the company or organisation's growth plan.
Adidas Futurenatural — A leap forward in the innovation of footwear
Although a branding studio, Studio Dunbar works from strategy to reality and everything in between. Including positioning, brand DNA and brand integration. They have a wide range of roles within the organisation ranging from Creative Coder to Strategy Director. They offer an “inspiring environment” to work within. Pushing the boundaries of creative practice, with projects involving teams of two or three designers. And whilst this teamwork is essential, they also put particular focus on individual’s personal growth and expanding career opportunities.
In the context of branding their work is dynamic and playful where appropriate whilst solemn and demanding at other times. Their explicit use of animation and integrated brand presence elevates the work to an almost instantly recognisable level. Studio Dumbar definitely has its stamp on restrictive graphics and variable-type animation.
What’s most appealing about the work coming from this studio is the clear restrictions placed on the design practice to bring only the purest form of an idea to the forefront. You get a sense from each and every piece within the portfolio that by the restrictive nature of the creative, every piece in the artwork MUST be there for a reason. The work is balanced and striking, with a dynamic range of skill sets involved.
Mother London has been on an uphill trajectory since it launched in 1996 with Channel 5 as its first client. Since then, it has added brands like IKEA, Samsung, Uber Eats, and Greenpeace. Its driving principles are based on the company’s ‘holy trinity': do the best work they possibly can, have fun, and make a living. Keeping its team engaged and motivated. Mother has a long-term history of creative independence and room for staff to grow and develop within their profession.
The agency has of course grown massively in size and with over 500 employees spread across the globe, that smaller studio closeness may not be present or at least harder to foster. A notable campaign is their 2020 release of ‘The World’s Least Appropriate Slogan.' – an opportunity for KFC to grab the bull by the horns and during the pandemic address an issue whilst raising awareness positively within the brand.
FUN Creative Agency
Fun is a small multi-disciplinary creative studio founded by Paul and Sarah Alexander. This creative pair introduces another aspect of consideration regarding creative personale and recruitment. Operating as a small two-person studio, specialising in food, drink, and lifestyle brands, they outsource or collaborates with multiple outside resources to achieve brand campaigns and meet client expectations.
A great example of this collaborative aspect is the campaign created for ABI Holiday Homes "Because the little things matter”. I think this was such a fun and instantly gripping visual creative. Somehow the image of a static caravan home looks enticing and otherworldly. Is it reminiscent of the trainsets and model houses, pristine and well kept – clearly untouched by children for that matter!
The idea? To create the very best of Great Britain’s holiday playgrounds in miniature. So, through collaboration, the team commissioned a skilled model maker to build over 20 miniature model scenes showcasing the range of ABI homes available.
I like this campaign for the seemingly simple approach, and the delight and surprise instilled when you realize it’s a model. Something is encapsulating knowing the tiny figures are frozen in space. The sea is hardening gel, the trees artificial. It makes you want to look for longer and drawing the focus and attention of the audience into the present. FUN position themselves right at the heart and intersections of ideas, strategy, insight, and energy.
Those epic B&Q ads making your dream of home DIY and garden improvements? That was Uncommon. Uncommon is equally ambiguous and subtle in their approach while having a client basis including brands such as B&Q, Punk IPA, the Guardian, and ITV.
“A creative studio building brands that people in the real world actually wish existed.”
Their work constantly pushes the boundaries of what we consider to be ‘Advertising' and looks to new ways to engage with audiences. They approach work with refined and confident minimalism, stripping ideas down to their purest form as well as the majority of the client basis work being sustainable, eco, or at least trying to do better. They bring humanity and humility to the work and thus elevate their client’s brand above the rest through powerful insights, storytelling, and intelligent execution.
They are a massive inspiration for me when it comes to pushing client work to be dynamic and actually interesting. There is a delicate line drawn between visually appealing works of art, subtle selling and persuasive techniques which really tie the work together. They also seem entirely consumed with the creative work and not branding their own agency. Their website speaks volumes on this point, but it only further highlights just how far good creative work will go for self-promotion and longstanding recognition.