Creative Best Practices Opinions

"Armor" for your creative department

Posted by Timofey Yuriev on November 29th, 2011 at 1:09 pm
Corporate-Jungles

"If you wish for peace, prepare for war"- Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus's

When a neurosurgeon is performing an operation on the brain, you will not see any of the hospital’s business management personnel trying to advise him what tools to use and where to cut. But when a professional designer tries to replace one type of font with another or use a slightly different color in the presentation/website, etc., then often we see a lot of hands from the so called “professionals” specializing in business of visual communications by mostly drawing the little funny pictures when no one sees them.

Each one of us has had plenty of these kinds of frustrating experiences. Just ask any of the leading designers or creative professionals such as Paula Sher («Make It Bigger») or Stefan Sagmeister - if they would work with a client who tries to tell them what colors to use in their work.
In 2008, I was in the position of head creative director and our company joined the huge WPP conglomeration. Because of the giant river of new external and internal clients, the volume of our work expanded exponentially and we had a hurricane of new projects. Gazillions of pink-cheeked CEOs, CFOs, COOs and CTOs filled our meeting rooms in the ethereal dance of marketing ideas and began drawing pictures of giant virtual battles of the new business ideas in PowerPoint. Discussions of how, what, when and who should do what, quickly escalated from virtual battles to real fights over our meeting tables.

And because of extremely limited amounts of time we now had for negotiations, I decided once and for all to finish with the problems arising from internal/external clients because of disagreements in the rules, dove down and created the following:

  • a short guide, describing the process and policies of work with our in-house creative agency, divided in two parts:
    • for potential external and internal clients and
    • for our own internal creative stuff
  • a long version of this guide, which in details would describe all of the points and policies of the short one, mainly explaining our work for our CFO (because he was the main boss) and HR.

The main point of this guide was a simplification of the work process between all of our teams. We had to eliminate wasted time where we had to explain over and over again how and what had to be done, but at least to minimize it in order to be able to complete our main jobs.

Both versions of the guide where created and signed off together with the marketing department, and we were now armed to go into the new battle.

The idea that this guide will be read or even skimmed by all of the other departments, approaching us with the new projects, simply failed. They were looking at this document like my grandma was staring at the manual for the new VCR player back in 1986. But this generated immediate respect for what we were doing, and instantaneously helped us to minimize the amount of time wasted on empty arguments and educating external personnel.

Suddenly, at last, we had our armor and we were ready to continue the battle without too many fights right at the beginning.


©2011 by Konstantin YurievTimofey Yuriev

One Response to “"Armor" for your creative department”

  1. Fernando says:

    I guess this "old" video sums it up: http://youtu.be/qgcX0y1Nzhs

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