Artisan Blog

14 Books for Creatives

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

14 Books for Creatives

Whether you listen to audio editions on your commute, use a tablet or e-reader, or relax with a cat on your lap and an old-fashioned paper edition, books are still a great source of information and knowledge for creative pros.

A book allows you to take a deeper dive into a subject and emerge with a broader awareness of how its details fit into context. When it's easier and easier to consume bite-sized bits of information, delving into a book gives you an advantage over those with less experience of focus.

And books make excellent gifts. With countless titles to choose from, they're not easy to shop for. Your favorite creative mentor, peer, or friend will be delighted when a thoughtfully chosen book drops into his or her lap.

Whether you're shopping for a designer, a developer, an artist, or a marketing executive, here are fourteen selections that will spark creative inspiration.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

This revolutionary writing guide gave rise to a system of thought and a movement that has helped creative people of all types develop greater respect for themselves and their work. Its most influential exercise is probably "the morning pages," a daily three-page handwritten routine that has galvanized authors, actors, musicians, and everyday people around the world.

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

A favorite among UX designers, this classic takes a thorough and counterintuitive look at the familiar objects around us and wonders how they came to be as they are.

Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry

You only get one chance to make the most of the creative career you pursue in this lifetime. This urgent and heartfelt challenge will embolden you to “lose yourself,” fully commit to your process, and leave it all on the field.

How To Be Useful by Megan Hustad

Hustad's book is a wry, comprehensive, no-nonsense primer on networking, career-building, doing your job, and preserving your soul. It's perfect for graduates, those mulling a career change, or anyone who sometimes wonders if he or she missed out on some essential knowledge about how to thrive in the workplace.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

A successful novelist with a cult following among creatives in all fields, Pressfield believes that success means showing up, every day, and maintaining a regular practice, and that the only way to self-actualize as a creative is to start treating yourself as a professional.

The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not by John Vorhaus

Some of the most useful creative inspiration has always come from jokes and humor, from looking at life sideways and shattering expectations. This is a practical and amusing guide to the functions and structure of humor, with exercises that can help you produce smarter and more entertaining work.

Place Your Thoughts Here: Meditation for the Creative Mind by Steven L. Saitzyk

A Buddhist art teacher explores the connections between creativity and meditation in a warm and compassionate book that will fascinate any creative pro with an interest in mindfulness practice.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This landmark study on human behavior, and how it relates to thought, is a must-read for anyone who needs to understand incentive structures and why people sometimes act as they do. Kahneman won the Nobel prize for economics and is a highly regarded psychologist.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This book examines what happens when we get so absorbed in our work that we lose track of time, and suggests how we might cultivate such a state of pure creative devotion.

Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done by Jocelyn K. Glei

In an always-on world of perpetual distraction, an influential blogger and editor makes a case for shutting out the noise and decluttering your digital life. You don't have to be a hardcore minimalist to get some empowering and actionable insights from this one.

Quartz: The Objects That Power the Global Economy by Quartz Editors

This coffee table book from the business blog Quartz showcases the innovative genius of product design and makes a beautiful companion to The Design of Everyday Things.

How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster

Foster is a fun, funny, avuncular guide to the art of generating fresh ideas. If you know someone who's struggling to stay creative, this book can reignite the joy of the process.

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan

This irreverent but practical guide to the advertising industry provides a thorough understanding of the creative business and shows how a rebellious attitude can help you do work that gets attention. The classic text has been updated to address new channels and technologies.

The Dip by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a business and marketing guru to millions through his daily blog. This tiny but crucial book examines what happens when we get stuck in a gap between mediocrity and excellence, how to persist, and how to get out.

When you're inspired and driven to take your career to the next level, contact Artisan Creative, and join some of the most prestigious creative talent around.  We hope you enjoy the 454th issue of our weekly a.blog.


Expressing Our Gratitude

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Expressing Our Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
                                                                                                 -William Arthur Ward

At Artisan Creative, we'd like to take a moment and say thank you to all who have touched our lives this past year.

We are grateful for so many things and wanted to share a few with you.

We are:

  • Grateful to celebrate 21 years of Artisan Creative!
  • Grateful for our incredible, hard-working, and dedicated a.team, always bringing their a.game when working with our talent and clients.
  • Grateful for our amazing talent who create, write and bring to market compelling work
  • Grateful for our clients and the opportunity to build relationships, grow their teams and share in their success.
  • Grateful for technology to allow us to be virtual, yet always connected with each other.
  • Grateful for the 7 dogs and 3 cats who add to our work life.
  • Grateful for the two babies who joined the Artisan family this year.
  • Grateful for our friends & families
  • Grateful for the opportunity to write and share insights in 450 issues of our weekly a.blog.

Below are additional gratitudes from our a. team:

Margaret

  • Grateful that our son is living with us now and our family is complete.
  • Grateful for a job that is flexible and still challenging (in a good way) after 23 years.
  • Grateful for a family that is supportive and loving.

Laura

  • Grateful for family, good health, dogs, and friendship.
  • Grateful to have the chance to learn, progress and work in a job I love.
  • Grateful for the opportunities I've had and the chance to see the world.

Jen

  • I'm thankful to be able to celebrate another Thanksgiving with my family.
  • Grateful to have a healthy and happy baby girl join us this year and experience the holidays through her eyes.
  • Thankful for a wonderful support system both at home and at work that made the transition to being a new mom so pleasant.

Cammy

  • Grateful for our first home and the ability to work from the comforts of it everyday.
  • Grateful for my hard-working, supportive, and loving husband, who is adventurous and loves to get his hands dirty

Ana

  • I am grateful for the privilege of spending the last months of my mother's life at her side.
  • I am grateful for the love and support of my family and friends
  • I am grateful for Artisan for the privilege of working from home, where my job is more fun than work, and be part of a supportive, motivated and hardworking team.
  • I am grateful to live where food, shelter, and services are available and plentiful.

Stephanie

  • Grateful to work for a creative company and to work with team members that love people.

Regina

  • I'm grateful for such an incredible and supportive team to work for. I wake up knowing I GET to work with them and never feel like I HAVE to. It's rare to find such integrity and motivation in one's work life.
  • I'm grateful that I get to spend all my time with my dog Chewie. I never truly knew what a "man's best friend" actually felt like until I got to spend every waking moment with him.
  • I'm grateful that I found a balance in my life to take care of the sick ones in my family. So, so grateful for that.

Kimberley

  • I'm grateful for my wonderful spouse/teacher, family, and friends who are like family.
  • I'm grateful for the first responders and the outpouring of help to those who lost everything in the California North Bay fires.
  • I'm grateful to be back at Artisan working with such a dynamic team of creative, kind and devoted professionals!
  • I'm grateful to be able to make a difference in candidates' and clients' lives by bringing the right people together at the right time.

Jamie

  • To have facilitated Why Stack workshops with dynamic learners from around the world.
  • To have celebrated our parent’s 83rd and 85th birthdays together as a family.
  • To always be working with people who share similar values founded on trust and respect.

Katty

  • Grateful to celebrate 23 years of marriage.
  • Grateful for my amazing a.team. The most dedicated, intelligent and fun group I have had the pleasure to work with.
  • Grateful for health, family and friends
  • Grateful for the opportunity to travel and see the world.


How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to Achieve a Winning Mindset

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

- Michael Jordan

It's easy enough to feel positive and optimistic when things are going well. However, to prevent burnout, turn setbacks into opportunities, and build a strong and reliable business, career, or life, we must develop a resilient winner's mindset. This is crucial for those who are in the job-hunting or interview process.

Whether you're currently up or down or experiencing success or setbacks in getting to the next level of interviews, when you internalize these core principles, you can be like Mike, a person who learns from mistakes, profits from adversity, and grows stronger and wiser over time.

Respect the Body-Mind Connection

Taking better care of our body can dramatically increase the strength, endurance, and potential of our minds. The stress of the job hunt can take a physical toll, which makes body health awareness and appropriate self-care all the more vital.

Along with increasing our strength, longevity, and life satisfaction, regular exercise can improve our brain chemistry. When we overcome inertia and achieve our fitness goals, it inspires us to meet our commitments and handle our responsibilities in other areas of life.

Our bodies turn food into energy. When we consume a healthy and balanced diet, our bodies convert it to a much-needed energy that helps us stay centered, steady, and optimistic through difficult times.

Get Good Information

Just as we must be mindful of what we eat, we must pay attention to our diet of information and intellectual stimulation.

Diversions and light entertainment are fine as long as they are balanced with useful and well-informed content. We should make time for educational and technical material that keeps us up to date, inspirational stories of those who have achieved important breakthroughs, and difficult work that broadens our minds, and challenges our assumptions. .

We don't exist in a vacuum - cultivating the right environment is tremendously important to thrive and succeed. If you replace negative input with enriching and positive media, you will find that your thoughts follow suit and so will your perspective.

You don't need to spend all of your time just reading the classics - practice critical thinking about what you read and watch. Ask yourself, "what is the frame of reference here? Why does it exist, what assumptions are baked into it, and what can I learn from this that will help me build a winning mindset?"

You will gradually find yourself focusing more on work that reflects your values, and getting more optimistic as a result. And you will certainly be sharper in interviews, in meetings, and on the job.

Keep Things In Perspective

We cannot be defined by our mistakes and setbacks - as long as we stay in the game, we will ultimately benefit from challenging experiences and the learning opportunities they give us.

Likewise, we cannot let winning go to our heads. Every small victory should be celebrated, as it gives us the courage to reach higher goals. As we celebrate victories, we must remind ourselves that there is more work to be done. We cannot adequately prepare for the future if we rest on past achievements.

Stay proud in defeat and humble in victory. In this way, we can avoid the fate of the "one-hit wonder” and always play the long game, in the job hunt as in life.

A simple, daily mindfulness practice can be a tremendous help in maintaining the equanimity we need to stay agile and not let our good or bad experiences define us too strictly.

Move Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking

Many of our games and rituals are based on the notion that, for us to win, someone else has to lose. This represents a "zero-sum" or scarcity-based mentality, wherein we are competing for limited resources. In reality, things rarely work this way. We can usually get what we want without hurting others.

Our most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities lie in increasing the overall wealth and resources available to human society. We can disrupt old structures and cultivate new ideas from the assumption that everyone can benefit from our work, including those we may see as competition. We have our differences, and our best thinking springs from a willingness to better provide for all of humanity.

When we do our best work with the intention to do what’s right, everyone ultimately benefits. When we transcend zero-sum thinking and adopt an abundance mindset, we open a wealth of opportunity for ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.

Be Grateful To Everyone

To psychologically ground ourselves and maintain a balanced perspective, nothing is more important than a regular practice of gratitude.

This is easier said than done, particularly when many factors seem arrayed against us, in a job search or other endeavors. But no matter where we are personally or professionally, we must take stock of the many advantages and privileges we have.

If your job search has been challenging, try a simple “loving-kindness” practice. Be grateful to yourself, and slowly extend that outward to your loved ones, to strangers, and to the entire world. Just by giving it a try, you will open your mind to abundance and generosity, which will help you cope with any problems that come your way.

The more grateful you are, the more “luck” you are likely to have, as others perceive you as a source of goodwill, strength, and comfort in their own tough journeys.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals at all levels of expertise build rewarding careers by sharing job search best practices and interview tips. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you enjoy the 450th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 


The Productive Commute

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Productive Commute

Although remote and at-home work is gaining acceptance, most jobs still require some on-site face-time. That means you'll be spending at least some of your professional life in transit. As housing costs continue to rise and many companies relocate, you may be in for a long commute.

However a commute does not have to be wasted time and can become nourishing and productive. If you can make it a point to stay engaged, cultivate useful and revitalizing habits, you may find yourself looking forward to rush hour!

Here are a few things you can try when you want to get more out of your commute.

1. Conference Calls, Meetings, and Check-ins

If you take public transport to work, this can be the perfect place to be a "fly on the wall" for a call that someone else leads. This can also be great opportunity to check in with key clients, colleagues, or friends, provided you can still have a good reception and your environment isn’t too noisy.

2. Podcasts

Since Apple’s release of the iPod more than fifteen years ago, the growth of podcasting as a medium has exploded. Compared to radio, the barrier for entry is practically nonexistent, which has unleashed a wild variety of shows. Podcasting has been embraced by journalists and has reignited the careers of rebellious comedians who do their best work uncensored. The most popular podcasts now have devoted audiences in the millions.

There are so many podcasts to explore that it's easy to get lost. If you're looking for places to start, you can get creative and cerebral inspiration from TED or Creative Mornings, hear interviews with leading entrepreneurs on The Knowledge Project and The James Altucher Show, or dive into the more narrative-based shows from the Radiotopia network, which will reacquaint you with the mystery and wonder of life.

3. Audiobooks

Reading books remains one of the most reliable ways to become a stronger thinker and speaker. If you drive, you can find more wisdom, heroism, romance, humor, and insight in audiobooks than you could possibly absorb in one lifetime.

The personal growth coach Duff McDuffee provides a plan for "reading" quite a lot in the 1.5-2 hours a day many of us spend commuting. In the brilliant So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance, the author Gabriel Zaid suggests a strategy for choosing the right books to cultivate a rich awareness of the world.

4. Meditation

A commute may be the most unlikely place to get in touch with your innerself and the true nature of reality. However, now that meditation is in vogue among leaders in tech, media, and the creative industry, more and more people are practicing some form of mental relaxation on the go, including in traffic.

In your commute, you're likely to face frustrations, distractions, and emotional highs and lows. This makes it the perfect place to practice mindfulness.

You will need to stay focused on the journey, so you can't close your eyes and go into a trance. Today’s cutting-edge meditation instructors Vincent and Emily Horn have devised a practice called "There Is Driving," a simple "noting" practice you can use to train your attention as part of your everyday activities.

5. Train Your Brain

The human mind is designed to be stimulated, in youth and throughout life. If you spend less time "zoning out" and more time engaged in challenging your mental reflexes, you will do wonders for your creativity, productivity, and mental health, now and into older age.

You can use your commute to learn a new language, or work through riddles and puzzles.

If you typically drive give mass transit a try if its available in your city - you may be amazed at how much a train or bus ride can shift your perspective and what great ideas arise when you come in closer contact with your community. If you can't take the train, vary your route to work - take side streets instead of freeways, or allow some extra time to take the scenic route. Another option is to walk or ride a bike to work when possible and get some exercise in the meantime too!

See if you can devise your own ways to make sure your commute is productive.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that a creative life is one of the most rewarding ones you can pursue. Contact us today to leverage our resources and experiences and get more from your career and your life.  We hope you enjoy the 449th issue of our weekly a.blog.


Practicing Mindfulness At Work

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Practicing Mindfulness At Work

 

Over the centuries, mindfulness practice has spread from ancient Buddhist traditions, into today’s easy to access TED Talks, and flowing to corporate boardrooms from New York to Los Angeles. Although it has become increasingly popular in the corporate world, mindfulness isn't just another fad or productivity hack - it prescribes a fresh way of looking at the world, noticing what is going on behind our assumptions and narratives, and feeling what it means to truly be in the moment.

Several cutting-edge companies have set aside meditation rooms, or provide midday breaks for quiet contemplation. Even if you don't work at one of these companies, you can apply the principles of mindfulness to be more present with your work, your life, and people around you.

Here are a few steps for integrating mindfulness into your day.

1. Sit Quietly

It doesn't matter if you do this for thirty minutes or three. If you don't have a quiet space in your workplace, you can sit at your desk or take a quick walk around the block. Just claim a small slice of time, whatever you can manage, in which you can expect to be relatively undisturbed.

When you have found your spot, sit still, with your hands in your lap or at your sides and close your eyes.

2. Focus on Your Breath

After you've taken a few moments to calm yourself, gradually bring attention to your breath. Ride each breath as it travels through your nose and fills your lungs. Rest your awareness on the pause between the in-breath and out-breath. Then slowly release. Give your full attention to the process of breathing.

As soon as you notice a thought, acknowledge it - say to yourself, "thinking" - and return your attention to the breath. Do this as many times as necessary until the session is over.

When you accept your thoughts and then let them go on their way, you reclaim some of the power and energy you might otherwise invest in worrying over them. Bring all that focus back to the present moment and the experience you are having, here and now.

3. Apply Mindfulness on the Go

There's a reason that sitting is called "practice." You're practicing an approach to everything else in your life. When you practice in this way, you prepare yourself for the harder work of staying present, focusing your attention, and maintaining equanimity in even the most taxing professional situations.

When you are in a meeting, give your full attention to the presentation and presenter. When you are working on a project, just do that. When you notice sights or sounds in the room, or distractions competing for your attention, acknowledge them, accept them, and let them go, releasing any thoughts you may have about them. Return your attention to the task at hand.

4. Keep Learning and Practicing

Mindfulness is a journey, not a destination, and you may not see major results after one or two sessions. If you make mindfulness practice a part of your daily routine, it will gradually shift your attitude toward your work and yourself.

In the book Mindfulness on the Go, Jan Chozen Bays distills centuries of contemplative wisdom into simple exercises you can try anywhere. (A companion set of flashcards is available, too.) Meditate.io is an online community built around sharing meditation practice with professionals in creative and technical professions, with guided exercises for mindfully attending meetings, taking breaks, and checking email.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that when you find meaning in your work, you find meaning in your life, and vice versa.  Contact us today to discover how we can help. We hope you enjoy the 444th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 


Continued Education for Creatives

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Continued Education for Creatives

 

As a creative professional, your education never ends. The ever-evolving skills and technologies are one of the exciting facets of the creative and marketing career path.

Opportunities for ongoing learning, enrichment, and personal growth are now more plentiful than at any other time in history. With access to more information than can be absorbed in a lifetime, the challenge is to structure your learning and find the best opportunities for your own advancement.  We've organized some of the content into categories to help with the selection process:

Virtual and Free

There are numerous free courses and lectures available online. Khan Academy, Coursera, and other established sites devoted to virtual learning offer college-level instruction on almost any topic, including plenty of technical and creative subjects that can aid in career advancement.

If you prefer a less structured approach, you can absorb hundreds of hours of TED Talks, alternatives to TED talks, podcasts, and audiobooks, investing only your time and the cost of an internet connection. There are also free, creatively oriented sites and discussion forums that offer a sense of community and require only your time investment.

Virtual, for a Fee

Some online classes charge a fee for their content by offering added value, exclusivity, personal attention, or access to a members-only networking community or content.

Many reputable institutions of higher learning now offer online classes, and many paid online programs are well worth the price. In order to devote themselves fully to their work, some creators of educational content charge membership fees or offer added perks to followers who donate via sites such as Patreon, which can give you the opportunity to foster a more meaningful relationship with a teacher, mentor, or community.

When you seek a paid continuing education course, seek reviews or communicate with others who have taken these programs to make sure it's the right investment for you.

Free and In-Person

In most major cities, creative professionals have easy access to a wide variety of free lectures, networking events, and other opportunities to expand their skillsets and meet potential friends and collaborators.

If you're looking for free events, Meetup.com is the best place to start - it includes groups based on thousands of topics, including many related to design, technology, and other creative fields. Creative Mornings hosts a series of talks in cities around the world, offering top-quality content for free. If you want to attend, register and grab your tickets within the first few minutes they are available, otherwise, they will sell-out very quickly.

In-Person, for a Fee 

If time allows, one of the most reliable ways to master a new discipline or set of skills is to set aside a few months and take an immersive class or "bootcamp." Many bootcamps have sprung up to teach technical skills such as coding and have gained credibility and following.

General Assembly is one example of a private learning institution for those in creative and technical fields. While it is only one of dozens of its kind, it has established a worldwide presence. It offers immersive courses in web development, user experience design, and other fields that offer opportunities for a new or enhanced career. If you're not ready to take that much of a leap, these schools also offer cost-effective classes that you can take in an evening or on a weekend.

At Artisan Creative, continued education is an important aspect of our business.  Contact us today to learn more.

In our 20+ years of connecting creative talent with top clients, we have gained knowledge and built strong networks.

We nurture creative talent at every stage of their careers.  Contact us today to discover how we can help. We hope you enjoy the 443rd issue of our weekly a.blog.


4 Effective Meeting Formats

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Although many in-person meetings are still held in offices or conference rooms, try leaving the office behind where possible to promote flexible thinking and energized collaboration.  Managers are creating playful and unconventional environments to help their teams think differently.

Some innovative companies have found that fresh and powerful insights can emerge when they challenge conventional notions of how meetings are conducted and bring people together by holding different meeting formats.

Here are four meeting formats that startups and large corporations have used to bring colleagues together in new and refreshing ways. If you want to treat your team to a dash of the unexpected, give one of these meetings a try!

Walking Meetings

With the popularity of standing desks and on-site gyms, it is clear that creative professionals and companies prize fitness and physical activity. Incorporating exercise into routine activities has been proven to increase creativity.

Walking meetings are a part of this trend. Instead of sitting in a conference room or office, many teams have found that moving their muscles, getting their hearts pumping, getting fresh air and experiencing a change of scenery can be more fun and productive. Harvard Business Review has some best practices for walking meetings

Active Meetings

If everyone in your group is up for breaking a sweat, you might try a meeting that entails additional physical activity.

In Fast Company, Stephanie Vozza shares unusual meeting formats from twelve cutting-edge companies. For example, Genera Games, holds meetings on the basketball court. Such a meeting can drive nimble thinking, allow players to indulge their competitive streaks, and, in the case of Genera, helps put employees in the mindset of the mobile gamers who use their products.

Creative Meetings

At Plum Organics, team members are encouraged to hit the books - coloring books. As they meet and discuss business matters, they engage "right-brained" thought by using paper, colored pencils, and crayons to jog neurons that aren't often in play in such settings.

According to Innovation Director Jen Brush, as featured in Vozza’s piece, an activity such as coloring promotes active listening, an important workplace skill that suffers when employees are "multitasking on something like email."

Brush holds coloring meetings every Thursday and says they have been an important factor in developing new products.

Gamified Meetings

Another example in Vozza's article is Darrell Ghert, a VP at the Inqusium division of Cvent. In the past, the quality of Ghert's meetings suffered from chronic lateness - some team members consistently showed up ten minutes behind schedule. This problem was a stubborn fixture of the office culture, not something he could fix by making threats.

Rather than getting frustrated, Ghert came up with a fun idea to help team members modify their behavior. Anyone who is late to one of his meetings is now required to sing. "We’ve heard the national anthem, happy birthday, and nursery rhymes," he says. However, these performances have become more rare, as almost everyone now shows up on time.

This sort of gamification is a step beyond the traditional rewards and demerits of the workplace - it is a system that improves processes while also itself serving as an example of creative thinking and problem-solving.

At Artisan Creative, we are deeply engaged with the changing culture of the workplace and want to help our world-class creative talent and clients do their best work, take advantage of new opportunities, and mine crucial insights that can change the world. Contact us today to learn more.

We are celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 438th issue of our weekly a.blog.


Generating Sticky Ideas

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Some think of creative inspiration as that elusive moment of epihany when the lightning bolt of clarity suddenly strikes. If you're a creative professional or entrepreneur, you know that you can't rely on such breakthroughs to happen simply when you need them to.

That's why many of the tried and true books in the creative industry focus on proven, repeatable formulas for generating effective ideas at any time, even when you're not feeling like Leonardo Da Vinci.

One such book is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath. Drawing from backgrounds in science, marketing, and folklore, the Heath brothers set out to find patterns among "sticky ideas," concepts that catch on, spread, and "stick" in the collective memory of an audience. Released in 2007, this book has become an essential read in the advertising/marketing trades and beyond; its ideas have proven remarkably prescient in fields from pop culture to politics to online memes.

The Heaths boil down the essence of a sticky idea to six core principles, which they describe in their "SUCCESs" model. You can use this formula to generate your own ideas and to test them for "stickiness," no matter what sort of creative work you're doing.

Ask yourself if your idea meets the following descriptions, as the most "stickiest" of ideas tend to be:

1. Simple

To win the minds and hearts of an audience, get right to the point. "The man who chases two rabbits catches neither," says one Confucian proverb, and if you make a complicated argument with several different key points, your audience is unlikely to remember any of them. Your ideas must be simple, useful, and profound. Practice cutting away all that essential fat on your ideas, until they're lean, strong, and unforgettable.

2. Unexpected

The most memorable ideas disrupt norms or break predictable patterns. You can use counterintuitive and surprising ideas to roust people out of their trances, making them laugh, think, or take action.

Consider the iconic tagline from the rental company Avis: “We’re number two, so we try harder.” In this campaign, the company grabs attention by confessing a weakness - it has a long way to go to catch up with Hertz, the industry leader - and inverts it into a strength. Audiences expect companies to puff themselves up; they don’t expect them to admit to weakness, or to explain how it actually makes them stronger. With its sincerity, self-deprecation, and use of the unexpected, this Avis campaign ‘stuck’ for 50 years.

3. Concrete

A concrete idea is specific, vivid, and visceral. It has mass, weight, and impact. In a world accustomed to the lofty abstractions of academic and corporate jargon, a concrete idea will stand out. Practice communicating your ideas in pictures, sounds, and feelings, and take advantage of the human mind's natural affinity for information that appeals to the senses.

4. Credible

You may not be a doctor (or even play one on television), however you should be able to support your ideas with a sense of trusted authority. Celebrity endorsements and personal stories work because when trusted public figures are willing to stake their reputations on something, those who trust and admire them will approach it with confidence. If you can't get the Surgeon General to endorse your product, you can show it in action, present case studies, or cite striking statistics and details to enhance your credibility.

5. Emotional

An appeal to a person's pride, fear, anger, or compassion is usually more effective than trying to convince them with logic. To quote Jonathan Swift, "you cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into." Even the most rational and sophisticated people can only override their core emotions with great difficulty.

6. Stories

Timeless storytelling structures such as "the hero's journey" are still used by Hollywood screenwriters because they work. They can hook an audience's attention and appeal to shared and deeply held values. They work just as well for advertisers and creative professionals. Storytelling can even help build a better portfolio - instead of piecing together a collection of projects, embrace an internal structure and communicate a story of how you've evolved and what you've learned from your experience.

Creativity is a science and an art, and it can be learned. Contact Artisan Creative, and we'll provide resources to put you on the creative fast track and provide access to opportunities to improve your work and build your career.

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoyed the 430th issue of our weekly a.blog. You can find more articles here.



7 Sites to Get You Creatively Connected

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 427th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Design is a field of study, it’s a career path, it’s also a way of life and a way of looking at the world. Design can be inspiration, collaboration, thinking differently and seeing things others don’t.

However, if you are a freelancer working by yourself and without a team to bounce ideas off of—where do you go to get inspiration or find collaborators?

Online communities such as Dribbble or Behance, make it easier than ever to find excellent, cutting-edge visual design and to connect with other like-minded designers and artists. In this blog, we’re going to focus on a few sites that are more about the larger ideas that shape the design world, and the community that inhabits it. This is where we go for design inspiration beyond the aesthetic.

Creative Mornings

Creative Mornings, created by Tina Roth Eisenberg, is a series of talks by creative leaders in cities around the world. The talks start early and are almost always filled to capacity. Over the years, Creative Mornings has expanded to encompass a podcast, a smart and funny email newsletter, and a tight-knit, enthusiastic community that helps professionals in all creative fields get more from their lives and careers. Their website includes an archive of talks for countless hours of inspiration.

PSFK

A consultancy that drives innovation in retail, advertising, and design, PSFK also maintains a long-running active, and addictive blog. It’s a go-to for quick hits on global creative events, bizarre and controversial marketing campaigns, glimpses of potentially world-changing technologies and innovations. PSFK is always good for a reminder that we are all part of this weird and wonderful carnival of creativity.

A List Apart

Digging beneath its simple and humble design into its archive of articles, it quickly becomes obvious how influential A List Apart has been on the past few years of web design. Between its blog and series of books, it has showcased the writing of numerous luminaries in UX, Information Architecture, Design, Development, and more. For challenging and informative “long reads” on a range of topics in digital design, A List Apart merits regular reading and revisiting.

99u

99u is an expansive educational site owned by Adobe, with content addressing all the aspects, challenges, and joys of the creative business. It features a comprehensive event calendar, interviews with the most intriguing and successful minds in advertising and design, think-pieces that upend conventional wisdom and point in new directions, and a mission to help creatives do better work, be more effective citizens, and help commerce and society move forward.

Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings isn’t about design per se - it’s about, well, everything. In her ongoing attempt to understand the sweep of culture, philosophy, science, creativity, and the human experience, Maria Popova has honed a remarkable penchant for connecting different ideas to each other. The joy of Brain Pickings comes from falling into a digital rabbit hole, bouncing from a piece on privacy to a profile of eccentric scientists to the lost illustrations of Ralph Steadman, electrifying the parts of the brain that take joy in unusual patterns.

AIGA

One of design industry’s oldest and largest professional organizations for design—25,000 members strong, this community is a great resource for learning, collaboration, and community! Look for a local chapter and attend events, read blogs and meet other creatives in your community

Artisan Creative’s Resource page

We’ve compiled a running list of professional organizations, portfolio sites, and freelancer resources to help you connect with other creatives. Our blogs page has over 400 articles on interviewing, freelancing, time management and much more. And our open jobs page connects you with open roles.

The best content starts conversations. Did we miss one of your favorites above? Let us know in the comments!


Creating New Habits For Success

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we've learned a thing or two that we'd like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 426th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Sometimes, there's simply no substitute for hard work. Behavioral change that is meaningful is hard to do, and transition only gains traction when the right goals and structure are in place. If goals include developing healthy or productive new habits for success, then the mantra "work smarter, not harder" must resonate.

Willpower is a perishable resource, as it's not the most efficient or sustainable means of establishing a new habit. Set yourself up for success with the following concrete, time-tested strategies:

1. Use SMART Goals

Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Let’s say you’re considering a career change. How can you make this a SMART goal?

Get specific. If your local newspaper ran a story about you hitting your goal, what would it say? Make it measurable. What quantifiable benchmarks do you plan to hit? Is your goal achievable? Are you comfortable rearranging your life and allocating your resources to make this career change happen? How relevant will your new role be in 3-5 years? Does this new career make use of your existing talents and experience, and will the day-to-day realities of it make you happy? How much time will it take to make this transition?

After answering these tough questions and achieving clarity on what you’re doing, you now have a workable plan of action.

2. Make a Timeline

Making your goals time-bound is arguably the most important step toward staying accountable. It takes advantage of our habitual inclination to organize our work on a schedule.

Depending on what you want to accomplish, you may want to make a five-year plan, or decide how on you want to spend the next month. When pursuing any goal, remember that deadlines are lifelines, and that you can prime yourself to get things done by making specific time commitments and planning to deliver on time every time.

For more long-term goals, set short-term benchmarks to make sure you are on track, and check in with yourself every so often to see how you are doing. If you want to become a full-time creative freelancer in two years, plan to have a strong online portfolio in a month, take on your first client in 90 days, and so on. If you miss a smaller goal, you will have plenty of time to determine what went wrong and get yourself back on track.

There are countless apps and software programs designed to help you stick to a defined timetable. Remember the Milk, Basecamp, and Google Calendar are some of the simplest and most popular. Experiment with a few tools until you find one that works for you.

3. Have an Accountability Partner

Everything in life is more meaningful when we share it with others, and reaching your goals is easier when you aren’t going it alone. Find someone with similar objectives, starting at a similar level, and make a plan to connect regularly, motivate each other, keep each other on track, offer honest feedback, and celebrate your victories.

If you want to make rapid progress in growing your business or career, reach out to Artisan Creative today. We have a broad network of creative talent and top-shelf clients, and the experience to help you navigate the modern workplace and understand the principles that govern it.




Search

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive