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The ABC's of Contemporary Creatives

Tim Nolan
Tim Nolan

Hello. My name is Tim Nolan. I head up BBH Labs and serve as the Interactive Group Creative Director at BBH New York. I have proudly served the Internet since 1996. I created this book along with my partner in crime, Jen Lu, a Creative Mutant currently working at Droga 5. We would like to thank Bernstein & Andriulli for granting us access to their amazing roster of talented illustrators and designers to make this endeavor come to life. This book is meant to be used as a point of inspiration through its words and images. It is also, by design, meant to be a fun piece of interactive media to enjoy. There is a lesson tucked away in that last sentence.

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The ABC's of Contemporary Creatives
The ABC's of Contemporary Creatives
The ABC's of Contemporary Creatives
INTRODUCTION
Hello. My name is Tim Nolan. I head up BBH Labs and serve as the Interactive Group
Creative Director at BBH New York. I have proudly served the Internet since 1996. I created
this book along with my partner in crime, Jen Lu, a Creative Mutant currently working
at Droga 5. We would like to thank Bernstein & Andriulli for granting us access to their
amazing roster of talented illustrators and designers to make this endeavor come to life.
This book is meant to be used as a point of inspiration through its words and images. It is
also, by design, meant to be a fun piece of interactive media to enjoy.
There is a lesson tucked away in that last sentence.
This book is simply a way to unite those two worlds.
Enjoy.
Today’s contemporary creative not only needs to be
a clever storyteller, but also wise to the means that are
available to them to tell such narratives.
tim & jen
@Universalscene
FOREWORD 1
What does it mean to be a creative these days? It’s almost impossible to answer this. The
tasks of a creative are unrecognizable from as little as five years ago. You must decide
whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly the days of easy three week shoots
in the Caribbean are long gone. But when has an advertising creative ever had the
chance to make a physical product from scratch? To really make something?
Some would argue clients have never been more conservative but some guy just fell
from space for a can of pop with no guarantee that his brains wouldn’t splatter across a
million screens. It seems it’s wise to be foolish.
One thing a creative does need to be is a hustler. There are no easy briefs any more. You
have to fight for the crazy stuff. But I honestly believe in a more uniform and conservative
world, weird stands out. Look at GaGa.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Is that what we are, professional weirdos?
I can live with that.
james cooper
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was
the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”

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The ABC's of Contemporary Creatives

  • 4. INTRODUCTION Hello. My name is Tim Nolan. I head up BBH Labs and serve as the Interactive Group Creative Director at BBH New York. I have proudly served the Internet since 1996. I created this book along with my partner in crime, Jen Lu, a Creative Mutant currently working at Droga 5. We would like to thank Bernstein & Andriulli for granting us access to their amazing roster of talented illustrators and designers to make this endeavor come to life. This book is meant to be used as a point of inspiration through its words and images. It is also, by design, meant to be a fun piece of interactive media to enjoy. There is a lesson tucked away in that last sentence.
  • 5. This book is simply a way to unite those two worlds. Enjoy. Today’s contemporary creative not only needs to be a clever storyteller, but also wise to the means that are available to them to tell such narratives. tim & jen @Universalscene
  • 6. FOREWORD 1 What does it mean to be a creative these days? It’s almost impossible to answer this. The tasks of a creative are unrecognizable from as little as five years ago. You must decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly the days of easy three week shoots in the Caribbean are long gone. But when has an advertising creative ever had the chance to make a physical product from scratch? To really make something? Some would argue clients have never been more conservative but some guy just fell from space for a can of pop with no guarantee that his brains wouldn’t splatter across a million screens. It seems it’s wise to be foolish. One thing a creative does need to be is a hustler. There are no easy briefs any more. You have to fight for the crazy stuff. But I honestly believe in a more uniform and conservative world, weird stands out. Look at GaGa. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Is that what we are, professional weirdos? I can live with that. james cooper “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”
  • 7. “Creativity” is a loaded word like “war” or “god” or “child.” It has a lot in common with these words too – for it’s a mix of heavy burden and a blinding belief in our own potential to invent. “Creative” is too often reserved for people who are quirky, strange, tattooed and/or mustachioed. But in truth, everyone is creative with the way they solve the needs of the contemporary world – be they juggling numbers, whittling a good spear, or even in the conjuring of creative design and advertising. The Contemporary Creative has the ability to excite all of these with ease, telling stories and inciting action. Those before us molded clay, steel, and wood, but we flex our power with pixels and clicks, flash frames and light, code strings and sensors. We are manipulators, hopefully for good. The one trick pony creative no longer exists; instant death comes to those with narrow- minds, parochial interests or inflexibility. Inquisitiveness, fearlessness and an insatiable thirst for The New are the only real mandates for today’s creative minds. So feed your inner child. Create something from nothing. It’s a war of the senses. david schwarz What we’re talking about here is indeed creativity in the visual, interactive and social-psychological senses. FOREWORD 2
  • 8. FOREWORD 3 There’s also dogs dressed in menswear, men dressed as women spouting phrases women say, diagrams of famous one-liners and the movies of Wes Anderson that most represent you, purposefully misquoted inspirational images meant to inspire rage, and of course, rage comics. There’s also the chest-pounding fear of irrelevance that the Internet, a.k.a. the greatest unleashing of creativity in the history of our species, gives you as you stare face-forward into a future that doesn’t necessarily need you, populated by people that think they don’t want you, while you grapple to steer a brand managed by adults whose aim it is to remain invisible in their corner office. But mostly, cats on the internet. Being a “contemporary creative” doesn’t involve as much cats on the internet as one might suspect. bud caddell
  • 9. FOREWORD 4 Nice soundbite, that. And like most soundbites, half true, half full of shit. Why it’s half shit? You can be and do whatever you want creatively. There is absolutely no right or wrong, just expression or no expression. That’s the goddamn beauty of it. Why it’s half true? If you want to have an impact, to have other people see or hear or experience your creativity, it’s a good idea to understand the times you’re living in, the mediums and formats that are resonating with people, and understand the tools that are available to bring your expressions to life. Know those, and all that creativity inside has a chance to be seen, experienced, and shared. Which makes you a creative person of your time, a ‘contemporary creative’ so to speak. You can’t be of your time creatively if you’re behind in how you can express it. john patroulis
  • 10. FOREWORD 5 Having an idea is often the easy bit. Making it actually happen is almost always the hard bit. Thomas Edison, who still holds the world record for the most number of patents, described genius as “one percent inspiration, 99% perspiration.” To this extent, the contemporary creative has never had it better. From prototyping with Arduino to 3D printing to launching a business through Kickstarter, technology has made it much easier to make things happen. At the same time, it has never been more challenging to be creative. It is no longer enough just to be curious and to be inspired by your surroundings - the contemporary creative now needs to become part of those surroundings. Not an observer but a participant. Not just a writer or art director but a blogger, publisher, writer of code, a designer and salesperson of your own products. To be creative today, you have to be versatile. You have to be a hybrid. daniele fiandaca However, despite the speed of technological advancement, one thing still holds true – understanding people and how to move them emotionally is the hardest thing of all.
  • 12. A B C D E F G andrew rae bigshot toyworks julene harrison gavin potenza andrew bannecker dan craig rizon parein H I J K L M N tristan eaton ilovedust gary baseman debaser harriet russell david welker nomoco
  • 13. O P Q R S T U adam hayes rod hunt am i collective radio jeff nishinaka craig ward carbon studio V W X Y Z pale horse vasava nathan fox yuko shimizu shotopop
  • 15. A API is for andrew rae pen & ink, digital Application Programming Interface. Applications on the Web provide back doors to a wide range of valuable content and data. It’s time now to imagine what the API of a brand would look like. How will you open this API to consumers? (Application Programming Interface)
  • 17. B BETA is for bigshot toyworks digital 3D Love the beta. Embrace launching early and testing in a real world environment. Your consumer base is your best testing ground.
  • 19. C CRAFT is for julene harrison paper-cut Ideas and technology do not make for compelling advertising without a level of craft. This is something that should be considered timeless.
  • 21. D DATA MINING is for gavin potenza digital Data mining is at the very core of what the Internet does best. Google revolutionized the process with the launch of their search engine in March of 1996.
  • 23. E ENGAGEMENT is for andrew bannecker digital Engagement mapping is a means of assessing the contribution of different media touch-points to an eventual conversion. It allows advertisers to look beyond the ‘last click’ model of online measurement and award credit to all other activity that a consumer encountered before this point.
  • 25. F FUN is for dan craig digital Do what you love and love what you do. This will naturally translate into your work.
  • 27. G GEOLOCATION is for rizon parein digital 3D The digital space need not be cold and impersonal, content can dynamically be tailored for the consumer wherever they are located. Fish where the fish are.
  • 29. H HYBRID is for tristan eaton digital Mashup culture, cross trained professionals, and hactivism are all fine examples of modern day hybrids. Traditional creatives are being forced to embrace digital or risk becoming irrelevant. On the flip side digital savvy creatives need to learn how to extend their platforms into the television, print and, at times, radio channels.
  • 31. I INTEGRATION is for ilovedust digital Ideas need to be able to live across all channels seamlessly as a cohesive message. They cannot be forced. Each platform has its own nuances and the content that is created for them needs to feel native to the place where it will live until it reaches the consumer.
  • 33. J JQUERY is for gary baseman acrylic There are more ways to move elements on the page besides flash. There are a number of JavaScript frameworks that enable your content to come to life whether it is a desktop, mobile, or tablet based experience. Get familiar.
  • 35. K K.I.S.S. is for debaser digital Keep it Simple, Stupid. The idea may be an old one, but it still rings true today. At times the simplest of ideas can unlock the biggest returns.
  • 37. L LEARNING is for harriet russell pen & ink, collage, digital “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around sometimes, you might miss it.” - Ferris Bueller
  • 39. M MOBILE is for david welker scratchboard This is where most consumers engage with the Internet and this number will continue to grow as more and more devices become Internet aware. Stay on your feet.
  • 41. N NARRATIVE is for nomoco watercolor No matter how much the media landscape shifts and changes, and no matter what the current platform may be, the narrative still connects the consumer to the message.
  • 43. O OPEN SOURCE is for adam hayes pen & ink This notion should extend past software and code culture. Your process and your whole methodology should be looked at as open source. Share and share alike.
  • 45. P PLATFORM PRODUCTS PROGRAMS is for rod hunt digital Campaigns are inherently built with limited life spans. They are meant to serve as short term engagements. Platforms, products, and programs tend to live a longer, healthier life by nature.
  • 47. Q QUESTIONS is for am i collective digital You should be asking these of everyone every single day. Here is one for you: Did you learn anything from reading this book?
  • 49. R REAL TIME is for radio digital When an event or function is processed instantaneously, it is said to occur in real time. Your creative process needs to work in this same way. It is also something to consider when planning for your audience to interact with your work.
  • 51. S SOCIAL is for jeff nishinaka paper sculpture Broadcasting nowadays includes some help from the audience. Successful work, if embraced by the public will naturally be amplified by those that consume it.
  • 53. T TACTILE is for craig ward paper sculpture Digital work should lure the user in. Create work that people want to engage with. Understand the platform and make something that does more than sell a product. Sell the audience an experience, no matter how large or small. Always ask yourself, “Would I spend time with this?”
  • 55. U USER EXPERIENCE is for carbon studio digital Remember who your work is being crafted to reach. Be conscious of how they will encounter, engage, and consume your project. Then design that experience accordingly. UX is often the invisible layer of design.
  • 57. V VERSATILE is for pale horse digital Be nimble. Never pitch the same idea twice. Continue to innovate in the way you think and continue to innovate in the way you approach problems. Keeping on the notion of versatility, make sure your ideas are versatile enough to coexist across all media platforms. Fragmentation is a thing of the past.
  • 59. W WONDER is for vasava digital Creativity relies on wonder. It gives the audience the ability to associate themselves with your work. It opens the doors to imagination, and creates the connection between the idea and the consumer.
  • 61. X XML is for nathan fox digital inks and color Extensible Markup Language. What is important about XML is that it is a language that both humans and machines understand. Be sure your creative ideas are as flexible as this language, as most brand platforms need to be understood by both humans and computers alike.
  • 63. Y YOU is for yuko shimizu pen & ink, digital It is up to you as a contemporary creative to explore new avenues. It is up to you to learn every day. The media landscape as we all know is in constant flux. New technologies launch themselves into the world everyday, find a way to aggregate a personal news feed, and keep learning.
  • 65. Z ZEITGEIST is for shotopop pen & ink, digital Be a spirit of the times. Immerse yourself in all things contemporary. This will give you a wider lens to look through when conceptualizing creative. Stay in the now.
  • 66. agents: Howard Bernstein, Louisa St. Pierre, Francine Rosenfeld Matthew LeBaron, Aaron Barr, Dan Ouyang designed by shotopop bernstein & andriulli 58 West 40th Street, NYC 10018 BA-REPS.COM INFO@BA-REPS.COM +1 212 682 1490 TWITTER.COM/BAREPS BAREPS.TUMBLR.COM © 2013 bernstein & andriulli inc. The entire contents of this book are the copyright of Bernstein & Andriulli Inc & Universalscene. In addition, the copyright of the individual illustrations herein remain with the artist or client unless otherwise shown. No part of this book may be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form whether mechanical or electronic or stored or in a retrieval system without prior written permission from the copyright holder. written by tim nolan