‘How important is it for creatives to have creative interests outside of work?’

By Bram Williams for AdNews Magazine

The short answer is: it’s not important at all – so long as they make quality ads at work.  But in my experience the greats aren’t just creative nine-to-five; they typically have something else, or many other things, going on outside that keep them interesting.  And this often extends well beyond the great unpublished novel or a passion for photography. In fact, it can be the more obtuse pursuits that are the most useful.  Useful in the sense that they result in great new pathways, passions and people-stories – things that fire untapped corners of the imagination and unlock a different kind of empathy.  The stuff that translates well at work.

Great creatives can make great mural painters, mud-brick house builders, vintage valve amplifier restorers, skateboard company entrepreneurs, cold-climate gardeners and carburettor tuners.   That’s why so many creatives are so interesting to have a beer with – they’ve got more to talk about than making ads.  And this skill is still the ultimate test of what they’re trying to do for brands – get people to listen and be interested.

But this shouldn’t stop with Creatives.  Hopefully everybody who gets into this game, irrespective of their formal role, is fundamentally a creative person.   That’s why it’s just as important for Suits to do something on the weekend other than just eat at the latest café (photographing your meal and posting doesn’t count, either – in fact precisely the opposite).  Because the more we all push our own personal creative boundaries the more clients stand to gain from us – and the better our collective contribution to the globo-homogenised pastiche that is popular culture.

Andy Reynolds