Editors’ column in SNDS Magazine no. 2, 2014
“Time – he’s waiting in the wings
He speaks of senseless things
His script is you and me, boy …”
– David Bowie (Aladdin Sane, 1973)
In this place we have previously quoted some of the great masters of the advertising business. Sir John Hegarty* is one such master and shares his words of wisdom in a small book, Hegarty on Creativity – There Are No Rules, just published by Thames & Hudson.
In fifty witty chapters he writes about creativity – how to inspire it, how to sustain and perfect it, and how to make a living from it. Creativity is not an occupation, he says, it’s a preoccupation. So his views touch far beyond the advertising world – and they are certainly relevant for the news business.
“Time may be one of creativity’s best friends, yet no one will give you any. You have to earn it”, Hegarty says.
We live in a world today where tomorrow is too late – and the tight deadlines force you to make snap judgments and rapid decisions which often lead to poor work.
“The ability to stand back from your thinking and give it what we call ‘the overnight test’ is essential. […] To gauge if your idea will stand up to scrutiny necessitates reflection. Thanks to digital technology everything in this world has sped up drastically but that only makes it all that much more important to slow it down. Our brains still operate in an analog world.”
Hegarty has a point here. Although some of us actually work best under some kind of pressure (be it from deadlines, well-meaning bosses or the need to earn money to pay the rent) it’s important to include time enough to let your idea grow.
In SNDS Magazine no. 2, 2012 the Swedish photographer Tor Johnsson said that his most important tool is time – “time to wait for the right picture, the right atmosphere to give justice to the motive”.
Time is also an important aspect of the many new longread formats that more and more news sites are launching next to their quick news feeds. Research show that people are actually prepared to spend a large amount of time on in-depth stories online – but these take time to produce.
Do you get the time you need to make your projects develop to their full potential? Or, if you’re a manager – do you allow your staff enough time to get the work done properly? If your answer is yes! then I will worry no more, and speak no more of senseless things.
Kill the routine
Another way to keep your creativity alive is not to get stuck in the routines of your workday. It happens to all of us – coming into the office at the same time each morning, drinking your usual cups of coffee etc.
“If each day is business as usual how can you possibly create something unusual?” Hegarty asks, and he’s got another point there.
His first easy step to break the monotony is to simply switch desks with a colleague (if you work in a newsroom with free seating, this is really easy – just pick a new seat each morning). Just by moving across the room, you’re already looking at things from a different perspective.
If you really want to change habits, move to another city – or to another continent. This may, of course, involve some practicalities, but relocating even for a month or two can be really stimulating – having just spent the month of May in Iceland is our personal proof of that.
In the mag
The Fu2i0n14 conference is only four months away, and the program is shaping up. You can meet the first of a long list of great speakers on the next pages and more will be added to the line-up on the conference website at www.fusion.snds.org .
The spectacular cover photo for this issue of SNDS Magazine was created by one of the Fu2ion14 speakers, artist Lucy McRae with photographer Johan Renck. McRae built a coat hanger construction in seven layers with what she calls a ‘paper pixel representation’ of the pop icon Robyn for her Body Talk album. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to run this extraordinary photo on our cover and look forward to see more of McRae’s work on Fu2i0n14 in Copenhagen.
Photography is the subject for “That Scandinavian something” about the Norwegian photo festival DOK; we get an amazing look into the large pop-up book collection of Professor Michael Stoll, Augsburg University of Applied Sciences; we look behind the scenes of a Swedish experiment with print formats; Ole Munk reviews a new printed newspaper for kids; and k.dk was given a new design and a gold medal, all within the same month.
Enjoy it all, have a great summer – and don’t forget: If you have ideas for stories we should print in the magazine, give us a hint.
Lisbeth Tolstrup & Lars Pryds
Editors, SNDS Magazine
* Sir John Hegarty is founding Creative Partner of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), one of the world’s most awarded advertising agencies.