Last week creatives worldwide gathered at Cannes Lions, the world’s biggest annual awards and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry.
Here are five lessons in creativity from the festival and its movers and shakers.
1. There is never one way
Diversity makes us better. It also makes us better creators, leading to more compelling content. P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard told the Cannes crowd, “diversity is where the magic happens.”
In our attention economy, homogeneity won’t get you far. Fresh perspectives set our projects apart and can surprise and delight people by upending their expectations. If you’re tackling a dry subject, or something people have seen many times before, how can you draw on diversity to give it new life and energy?
Surprise & delight people by upending their expectations
2. Make your work human
Great design in any form, even if it’s abstract, speaks to us as human beings, and activates something in us – often at a subconscious level.
Actress Viola Davis reminded us that “creativity only resonates if you infuse real life into the work.” Meanwhile Ogilvy’s Piyush Pandey confessed, “I’ve stolen all my best ideas from life.” Even a simple logo evokes emotion and triggers a human response. How can you bring your own experiences and perspectives to bear in what you create? How can you make your work human to human?
As Peter Blackshaw from Nestle put it: “Unless we have something engaging to say, we are just wallpaper.” And while we all love some good looking wallpaper, design can be so much more.
Creative juices flowing? Dive into our Marketplace & find your creative building blocks.
3. Give yourself the time & space to be creative
If we never take our foot off the accelerator, we shut out our creative muses. They need rest, daydreaming and deep breaths as much as they do a hearty cup of coffee.
Mark Read, CEO of Wunderman, advocates taking time to let ideas percolate because our instantaneous world isn’t always “conducive to innovation.”
How can you build restful rituals into your creative process? Where can you carve out time or space day to day that you can repeatedly invest in?
How can you build restful rituals into your creative process?
4. Embrace your inner child
AKQA’s Ben Jones told Cannes that we’re at our most creative when are children. His agency hosts “laugh then think” sessions where creatives spout ideas and then do the grown up parts later on.
By giving yourself permission to play, you avoid the self-censor that often stifles those creative instincts.
New York designer Jessica Walsh (Sagmeister & Walsh) also prized the value of a ‘playful’ state of mind that lets you fearlessly color outside the lines.
5. Simple rules
The more complex our tools, our tastes and our platforms, the more we need to create stunningly simple work. There were thousands of ideas and creative executions on show at Cannes, but one the most celebrated was a single emoji, part of a clever campaign from Dominos Pizza.
In a world where virtual reality is now a viable option for creative communication, a jarringly simple pictograph won the day.
Simplicity cuts through noise. A single color, word, arrangement of shapes, can carry a powerful message, set a mood or inspire a crowd. Your work can be plenty sophisticated, yet singular enough to pack a punch.