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Tips From Creative Gurus

31 Jul, 2015 McKell Naegle


The creative process can often be a difficult one. To try to get it right and to make it effective can often take a lot of time and energy. Fortunately, as a creative, you’re not alone. Fluid is here to help. We’ve compiled quotes and ideas from some of the best minds in the creative advertising industry. Take a look, and see what you can apply to your work.

“If I had to distill it down to one word, it would be curiosity. Being curious is jet fuel for inspiration. I’ve interviewed and worked with scores of highly creative people, and they all have this common denominator of curiosity. Ideas don’t normally come zooming into our heads from ‘out there’ —they are internal responses to our encounters and interactions with people and events. It’s more important to learn something than prove something. When I’m focused on learning rather than showing how much I know, my mojo flourishes!”

—Sam Harrison, creative guru and author

“Start with the word. A big campaign can only be expressed in words that lend themselves to visual excitement.”

—George Lois, art director and author

“Avoid comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy. It can also be the enemy of originality. Accept yourself, your style, strengths and weaknesses and focus your energy there. Next, learn to genuinely celebrate the success of others. The creative industry is very competitive, often times within the same agency walls. It can be tempting to believe that the success of a co-worker means a lack of success for you. This just isn’t true. The reality is, there’s going to be a lot of people all around you getting all kinds of attention and praise. If you want to be happy, learn to be happy for them. And last, be honest. With yourself, your coworkers, your clients.”

—Steve Babcock, creative director, Evolution Bureau

“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.”

—David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising”

“For a creative professional to be relevant in today’s world, that person must live, eat and breathe all things digital, or risk being instantly irrelevant. Be proactive in learning to work across any media type imaginable. It is the key to not only being useful at an agency, but in actually securing the job itself.”

—Michelle Crawley, for Forbes.com

“The most creative people in the world are children, and so advertising creatives should be treated like children. (Not in a bad way.) Kids aren’t self-editing. They have a very fresh perspective. They’re proud of their ideas. They want to share them. We come up with our ideas in the same way that children play. It’s a playful environment, and we make it a really fun atmosphere, where people are encouraged to share and aren’t overly criticized.”

—Amy Hodgins-Carvajal, creative director at Publicis Kaplan Thaler

“Get away from the computer; get out of the office as a team; socialize together; be open to being lucky; do things outside of digital; go see a film or a play and learn how those people solve problems; post your work on the wall and let the entire agency critique it; and finally, bring passion to every project, and get out of the way if it isn’t there.

—Conor Brady, chief creative officer at Huge

“Just when you think you have it, put it aside and start over again. Let the ideas grow. I don’t know if it’s like bread rising or good wine maturing. Ideas mature either in a positive way or a negative way. Always be willing to destroy your ideas. Good ideas will stand up against any test. And we should test our ideas and make sure they can withstand the test. Try to break them down. Try to make them invalid.”

—Gary Koepke, chief creative officer for North America at SapientNitro

Have any great creative quotes or tips that we left out? Let us know in the comments below!

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