No one else knows what the fuck is going on either

by Justin Borromei

As a graduate creative, you're used to a process, rocking up to class spending a certain amount of time on research, ideation, development etc. You get marked and evaluated on your process. You tend to produce creative work in chronological order. When in reality no one cares about the process, no one is marking or checking off your ideation to see if you’ve hit 100 ideas.

There is this great line from Hegarty on advertising; Process is trying to make order out of chaos. Creativity is trying to make chaos to create order. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s true; the best ideas are usually the ones when you’re not thinking about ideas, when the environment around you spurs some sort of wit, or clever visual. Or when you and your creative partner are chatting about something completely irrelevant. Creativity itself is so random and unpredictable and that is what makes it great. It’s dysfunctional on one spectrum but highly clever and organised on the other. Don’t get me wrong, a process is important, but everyone’s process is different, how you get to an idea changes and in reality isn’t a set of steps you take every time.

A process will get you to an idea, but much like food the more you process the blander it will be. The best piece of adviceI’ve got thus far working in advertising was on my very first day, ‘No one else knows what the fuck is going on either’. It’s so true, as a junior you’re so hungry to create great work, you apply that process you’ve learnt and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. What you don’t realise is that everyone starts with a scary blank page. The creatives around you, who you look up to, are also looking at a scary blank page. You’re in the same boat and that thought is comforting. They also typically have no idea what is going on either, whether that be a confusing meeting or an initial creative review. What you begin to realise is that creativity doesn’t really have a process that it’s usually just two people chatting about the brief or looking out of window awkwardly for a long period of time.

Though this is the best thing about advertising, every day is different because how you get to the solution is different. It’s a comforting thought when you first start, that everyone around you also doesn’t know what the fuck is going on. I still have that piece of advice writing on a sticky note on my computer, it’s a reminder that the creative process is a wild, unpredictable and constantly evolving thing.