One of the “jobs” of next talent is to make mistakes and learn from them, try things then try something different, build expertise slowly but surely…and survive in a world that often lacks patience and can’t make errors.
D&AD awards next talent. This year there were Next Awards as sub-categories in 14 of the professional award categories. D&AD CEO, Tim Lindsay, Karmarama ECD, Brian Williams and Anna Gerber, creative partner and co-founder of content creating business, Visual Editions, took to the stage at D&AD to talk about what they saw while judging.
“I had a pre-conceived idea of the work I would see. I was totally wrong,” Williams said first. “I had no idea what to expect. I was surprised in good and bad ways,” Gerber added.
Here is what they saw and noted.
- What the judges were looking for:
Design: A narrative, understanding the process or the concept they were using
Creativity: Interesting ideas executed in a variety of ways. Hoping to see the thing that made you say, “I wish I’d done that.” “I wish I’d seen film, book or poster work with utterly new thought,” Williams noted.
Gerber: There was one piece in Design, a typeface no one has ever seen before. It was wrong in every way possible. It was intuitive, messy. It was wonderful. That’s the kind of work young people should be doing. They should be fearless and fuelled by intuition. It’s OK, more than OK, to try something even if it’s not perfect. It’s very difficult to teach someone to be brave, to be fearless. They have to bring it themselves.
2. The process:
Next entrants have to present more than one piece of work. Most often, what was presented was one well-produced and interesting idea and one more or less clunker. That really helped the judges. Next work should be raw.
3. A few critisicms:
Design: there’s a tendency to do work that forgets there’s an audience and you need to connect.
Creativity: Young creatives can’t help but imitate a bit, and to meet the expectations of fans of the brand rather than break the mould. Admittedly, that’s hard to do when you are only three years in.
Design: There was surprisingly little use of new technology. When tech was there it was familiar.
4. The Next talent that’s out there:
It’s still predominately white, male and middle class. Creative diversity is an absolute prerequisite for great creative work.
I want to be seen as a successful creative who happens to be a woman. Young people should all be striving for that.
Young creatives are more fluid in their roles. They don’t define themselves as art director, copywriter or creative technologist.
Successful young teams are very entrepreneurial. They team up, create projects, produce a lot of work. They also know that if they’re not good at something, they know some who is and they know how to find them.
4. Notes for the current generation:
Older creatives can learn from younger not to get so hung up on hierarchy and wisdom. Everyone inb the room has something to add.
More leaders should be tearing down the status quo of an agency to see if something is possible. One of those things is to empower young people to take things in a whole new direction.