March 21, 2023

On Creating: A Message
To A Fellow Creative


You already know most of this intuitively, though I wanted to stress 3 principles to be considered during the creative process.

        1. The more truth is present,
            the more potent the result.

A good indication you’re dealing with truth is a feeling of palpable discomfort when sharing the idea with others. This is an inexorable consequence of creating honestly, and is something to be pursued, not avoided.

        2. The best ideas are a product
            of the subconscious.

There is only so much that forcing an idea can amount to. Not to say you shouldn't dedicate some time to active creative thinking or imagination, but very often, once you feel your mind has been sufficiently beaten for one day, I advise that you take this as a cue to step back, and find a new perspective. Remember, in the words of our favorite fictitious creative director:
“Think about it deeply, then let it go.”

        3. Subtract, by default.

Complexity is easy; anyone can add more to an idea than is necessary, wrongly convinced they’re being productive. I urge you instead, to do the opposite. Subtract. Subtract whenever you feel like adding. Because simplicity is magic. Why would you want to detract from your Big Idea with cheap, superfluous embellishment? If anything, you should strive to hear “I could have done that!” and not “I don’t get it.”. Distilled into an aphorism: If it requires explanation, you haven’t done your job right.

These principles will help you with 80% of creative problems. As for the remaining 20%, why do you think I hired you?

Simon Archibald
Executive Creative Director