September 27, 2012

What's the secret to getting creative work done?

What's the one thing you need to actually execute your ideas?

You're probably not going to like it - at least I didn't. I've been trying to ignore this truth for over 25 years - and I've got pages and pages of wasted ideas to show for it.

The secret to getting creative work done can be summed up in one word.


“Daily quota for my insane daily process: 11 steps x 4 sheets/step = 44 pages.” – Austin Kleon

(Photo and caption stolen from his instagram.)

Tons more great inspiration and tips on his site.

Should you work for free?

A joke tweet to @GapingVoid got me thinking seriously about the question: is it ever worth it to do work for free?

Of course, it’s never OK to ask someone to do free work for you. At the very least, offer a bottle of wine or have them over for dinner. (That’s what some friends of mine did when I recently did some freebie work to help them launch their new business.)
But if you don’t actually know someone (in real life) please don’t bother asking.

When someone does have the nerve to ask you, is saying yes ever worth it?

My take on it is – only if you’re getting something out of it that’s more valuable than money.

For example, I did I pro bono campaign with the Louisville AdFed years ago when I was trying to break into the business.

Here are my guidelines on when it might be worth your while to do work for free:

- Early in your career for experience and networking. [Warning: this only pays off if you actually do great work.]

- A favor for a friend. [Same warning: if it’s not great work either one or both of you will wind up feeling disappointed.]

- Pro bono for a cause or organization you care about.

- A really fun and awesome side project. [But only if it’s a chance to work with really fun and awesome people.]

- Crowdsourcing contests (Victor&Spoils and zoopa list some reasons to participate on their sites, but see below for the opinion I agree with.)

This Fast Company article, How to be a happy and successful creative freelancer, has some good insights on getting paid.
It also contains this quote from Justin Gignac on crowdsourcing platforms, “Creatives should get paid for the work they do and not be throwing work into the mix in hopes of ‘winning’ and getting paid.”

Have you ever done work for free? Why and was it worth it?

September 12, 2012

Are we drowning in data or just deplorable design?

The glut of bad infographics out there hurts our industry and my brain. So it's refreshing to see a well-executed take on visualizing data that's way more interesting than another clip art chart.
IBM created a wall of interactive data for tennis fans at the US Open.
Here's a closer look at all the details:

September 7, 2012

How well can you fake it?

For all our talk about “authenticity,” it’s still tempting to take shortcuts or cheat to make an execution look perfect.

Nokia is the latest brand to get caught with their hand in the cookie jar. (Full disclosure: Windows Phone is a client.)

At least their apology is honest.

But how many people will see it compared to the juicier story?

September 5, 2012