Create a story
A thought

You hear a lot in the branding and rebranding process about the search for the ‘brand truth’. It’s articulated in various ways, but is essentially all about distilling the organisation into a thimbleful of honesty that give it a pure and neat foundation for the brand’s direction.

Of course, this process is essential to the integrity of ensuring what is generated thereafter is valid. Know the truth about a brand and it provides a robust checklist for how good your ideas are.

But it is also potentially misguided. And, if not a carefully managed process, could deny a brand something of greater value.

Consider this: the things you upload on to Facebook. Truth, or some kind of vignette of the truth? Your Instagram images: raw, or filtered? Sure: it’s all true. But what you’re putting out there is more than just that.

It’s a story.

We create stories with our social media. A narrative. Truth that's often moulded into something instantly magnetic and likeable. Something that smoothly generates thumbs-ups inside and out.

The same applies to brands. Brands need stories at their heart. A story supported by the truth of what they are all about, but shaped into a narrative that’s compelling, attractive, appealing, memorable, that will generate the proverbial bucket load of ‘likes’.

To not focus on this risks pulling the plug on invention and creativity - the magic fuel source behind every successful brand. Bypass the idea that in defining a brand you need to make it a creative process and risk providing the worst kind of brand platform to launch a brand strategy from. The sort of which we hear about too often...

‘We went through a definition process a year or two ago, but the Board never bought into it, really. HR ignored it. Staff didn’t know what to do with it. Our agency responded with this rebooted vanillery meh thing, and here’s the blunt identity solution from it Our customers haven’t really engaged with it since.’

Focus your brand definition on creating a story. Make it exciting. Believable. Achievable. From truth: a perfect fit with your business, to write the next amazing chapter of your business.

Rickman
A thought

I had the pleasure to work with Alan Rickman a few years ago. I was rebranding RADA - one of the few British brands you’ll find in the dictionary. It was a term that wasn’t always positive. For an amazing, positive brand: that had to be put right. And as a constantly under financial threat academy, done urgently, to help with funding and promoting its virtues more effectively.

So it was, a key person to help develop the brand’s identity, and guided by the robust strategic work done by Jane Wentworth Associates, was Vice Chairman, Alan Rickman. Alan had studied design and even ran his own studio back in today. He was very keen to be involved and it was clear from the start he’d 'work closely’ with me to get to the right solution.

I recall meeting him for the first time. Taller than expected. Maybe more imposing. And frankly in full Professor Snape mode. Eyeing me through half-closed curious eyes. Sitting back, head back. Working me out. I was armed with a hatful of questions about the brand that I wanted his view on. Whatever he said was expressed with such eloquence and portent. He probably used the words eloquence and portent a lot. He made a lasting impression. He spoke of his interest in design and keenness to stay close to how the creative would progress. He made the observation that ‘storytelling will save the world’. An enigmatic and grand statement, though in an age of incredible ignorance on so many issues not least religion and politics, one that is absolutely true and much needed. The world needs RADA - who produce the best storytellers in the world.

As we approached the crayons bit of the process back in the studio, I was galvanised into absolutely blasting through every creative angle from the brief that came from our conversations. At the end of the phase, at the presentation of the brand’s new identity concepts, I was armed with 9 options. No stone was unturned here.

After an inevitably long run through of each option and its potential to Alan and a select group of stakeholders, I stood back and opened with, ‘Well folks, anything here you like?’.

Much silence.

In a flash I worked out the group dynamic. Everyone was waiting for Alan to speak first. Fine. Like the fantastic actor he was, delivery is in much of what you don’t do. In this case, he looked at me, indeed through me, with a lolled head. Cogitating, or making me sweat. Or both. The others looked to him in anticipation.

Eventually, he moved. Firstly looking left and right for permission to take control. No one defied.

‘Well. I'll tell you what I like…’, he announced. Big pause.

He stood up and walk past all the boards and sheets strewn across the room. I was a bit confused. He then picked up… the presentation’s cover page. On it, functionally written: the word RADA, and the obligatory, invisible date, copyright, ‘private and confidential’ blurb. He turned to his colleagues. Alan was now presenting. I backed away.

‘I like this best.’, he declared.

I was thrown by where he was headed. Looking around his shoulder, I could see he was pointing to the RADA word, matter-of-factly written on the title page. Unadorned. Naked. Stark. Direct.

He didn’t need to say anything else. The initial confusion slowly osmosised into enlightenment. He was right. This brief didn’t need any of my fancy pants cleverness at the core of the identity. It needed RADA to be, well, unadorned, Naked. Stark. Direct. RADA is that bold, confident, needed, pronounced. A world away from its association with dahlings and luvvies. I was kicking myself for being distracted into another place - 9 times - when the simplicity was there for the taking and literally staring at me in the face on the cover page.

That was the lightbulb moment. The direction approved, it evolved into the RADA brand identity we see today. And I think of him and this story every morning when I Boris Bike past RADA on the way to work. He left us with many great acting moments and memories, and, as an 80s kid, I’ll continue to quote Hans Gruber at any given opportunity. He made a lasting impression for many people and embedded his clarity and authority into the RADA brand. Thanks Alan. I learned a lot.

Brand transformation
A thought

BRAND
BLAND
BLEND
BLEED
BREED
CREED
CREEP
CHEEP
CHEER
CHEEK
CREEK
CREAK
CREAM
DREAM
DREAD
BREAD
BREED
BLEED
BLEND
BLAND
BRAND

Made-up brand facts
A thought

Circular logos were found to be 33% less ‘aggressive’ than square ones, in a 2012 survey of US prisoners serving life sentences.

57% of UK designers spell stationery, as stationary.

There is a distinct and direct correlation between award winning brand designers and people who can recall the lyrics to the hit TV series, ‘The Littlest Hobo’. And no one knows why.

23% of all concepts from a survey of top European agencies, were reboots from previously presented ideas elsewhere.

One in every five brand designers is double-jointed.

Brand concept presentations that have the client facing in an easterly direction are more likely to succeed. In the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true. And around the equator, almost 80% of initial concept presentations fail to find a preferred creative direction.

In a recent online poll, 16% of the UK general public were unable to ‘see’ the arrow within the FedEx logo, even after having it pointed out to them.

Coca-Cola’s first ever brand campaign featured the product as Aloc-Acoc, following a mistake as the illustrator worked from the painted logo, reversed in a cafe window.

In 2014, when asked to name a favourite brand, 13% of people in a central London research session said ‘Russell’.

In February 1978, the continual line between the S and T in the Star Wars logo led to a street protest in Chicago by the American Association of Authentic Writing & Literacy. The protest deviated from its approved route to march past the city hall, resulting in an altercation with the police and authorities whereupon two protesters were injured by a police horse. The injured parties successfully sued the Chicago police force for $75,000 [2015 terms: $850,000] each, against claims of trauma and loss of income.

In a survey of top US accountants, the majority of respondents said that the British ‘Union Jack’ flag would smell of lavender.

The most popular letterform from the Helvetica font is the capital R. Meanwhile, the lower-case f and upper-case J shares the honours for New Baskerville, as according to a survey of the top 500 font designers.

In a 2015 survey of the top 50 technology brands. the most popular core brand idea was ‘Disruption’.

In the marketing headquarters of Uber, the main meeting room has a wall entirely taken up by the statement; ‘Uber is the Uber of Uber’.

The man who wrote JFK’s famous ‘We choose to go to the moon…’ speech, also wrote the first ever company manifesto for Tippex correcting fluid, and was a close friend of ‘Monkee' Mike Nesmith’s mother.

Bonus JFK fact: The man with the sweeping brush at NASA who JFK asked ‘What are you doing here?’, who then replied ‘I’m putting man on the moon’, is Howard Kampmann, still alive and residing in a retirement home in Celebration, Florida.

The symbol that pop artist Prince rebranded himself as in 1993, bears an uncanny resemblance to the Inuit symbol that is carved into snow to warn others of nearby polar bears.

Although its origin has never been confirmed, sound engineers have discovered that the sonic mnemonic ‘boot up’ sound an Apple computer makes when starting-up perfectly mirrors the wavelengths of the sound of a grapefruit rolling down a metal 30ft playground slide, when slowed down eight times.

Only four people in the world know the precise colour specification for the Tiffany Blue.

In North Korea, it is illegal to have an orange coloured logo.

The far right tip of the Nike logo points exactly 64 degrees to the horizontal baseline, in acknowledgment of 1964, the year it was founded.

Musician Morrissey was once approached to be a brand ambassador for Marmite.

Zoologists have discovered that lemur communities 'experience communication and co-habiting disruption between the dominant alpha male and alpha females’, if their enclosures are in sight of the Colonel Saunders graphic from the KFC brand.

84% of internet users who consider themselves ‘avid brand forum readers’ said they didn’t care if what they were reading was 'true or not'.

Proper
A thought

Proper hamburgers. Proper pies. Proper broadband. Proper gym. Proper brew.

Have you noticed the rise of proper within branding? It’s been bubbling through for a while. A lot of coincidence or fashion? Proper fashion being norm core, obvs. Nope. It’s all to do with the continual drive for brands to become utterly authentic. The days of being marketed to are over. We now need to be authentic or be damned by our customers, likely through social media. Embracing proper puts a brand on track for longevity and appeal.

So that’s it then? Make sure your brand does everything in that grounded, slightly Northern England proper way? Nope. There’s something more coming through. Have you also seen the rise of ‘super’?

Super, as delivered in that West Coast American laconic way? Or, like an enthusiastic European pro cyclocross rider. Super is coming through. Super gives proper a benchmark. Your brand will do things properly. It will also be super. Of course. Shruggy shoulders. Tilted head.

I think Sergey Brin used ‘super’ three times in his recent short Alphabet brand launch announcement. He did that Google thing. Proper good.

Proper and super. Two of the points on your updated brand essence triangle coming soon. The third one? It’s simple. No. I mean…

Idea types
A thought

In physics, there's a not often recognised type of matter called plasma. Most people think matter is liquid, solid or gas. But there, in between, and in things like neon lights and lightning is a fourth type of matter… something else, called plasma.

The definitions of matter have a similarity to definitions of creative ideas. Ideas have a few recognisable types - and one not so often spotted.

You've got an Eureka idea. Generally found in baths and at bus stops or when washing up, these types of ideas are big, revelatory and can defeat the biggest problem in a jot. Lightning style, funnily enough.

Then there's the What-If idea. It's a bit of a shuffler. The What-If idea uses stealth to inch forward a previous What-if idea. In time, like falling dominos, they all add up to solving a problem. You see a lot of What-Ifs in group brainstorms. What-Ifs also spring from design award books, where people sometimes refer to them as an 'Evolved idea' from a previous Eureka idea.

There's also the well-coined Happy-Accident. These ideas are wild and can't really be manufactured or contained. You can encourage their growth though merely by 'having a go', like the mental equivalent of happily driving a dodgem car with a blindfold on. You might just bump the right car at the right time.

The fourth type of idea, less recognised but actually quite prevalent throughout the concept stages of many design projects is the Notion. They're good to look out for because they can play havoc with your design process. The Notion looks an awful lot like the other types of ideas. But, and they're a bit like plasma, there's not really much there when you probe them. You can easily build up a wall of what look like Eurekas and What-Ifs, only to discover - hopefully not too late - that they're all Notions.

A couple of examples;

"My next idea for the brand book is to have a booklet that folds out to be a poster."
"And this idea, will inspire an internal audience how..?"
The idea here is actually just a notion towards a type of format.

"This graphic device idea means the identity is still recognisable even when you cover over the logo."
"Then don't cover over the logo?"
Notions have a clever way of introducing phantom issues that we don't need to hurdle.

Notions may be part of the ideas process, but try and make them something else, if they can be altered. What matters: Eurekas, What-Ifs and Happy Accidents.

Schwoop
A thought

'Schwooop'

Schwooop is the sound and sensation you get when you remove an iPhone outer lid from its inner box. In fact, Apple generously apply schwooop to most of their packaging. It's that resistive yaw and anti-gravity pull of vacuum between an inner and outer box.

There's a fair amount of schwooop in the luxury sector. Christmas creates plenty of fragrant schwooops as our loved ones open their perfume packaging. For those that remember them, a lot of board games had mighty fine schwooops too. I seem to remember Operation and Trivial Pursuits being particularly good schwooopers.

Every brand needs a schwooop. It might not literally be in packaging - schwooops can manifest in different ways. A schwooop could broadly be defined as a precise and well crafted, pleasant kick where you didn't expect to find one. Look at the Toblerone logo. See the bear? Schwooop! When i first saw a new VW Beetle - I noticed the cool flower vase. Schwooop! Innocent Smoothies say 'Enjoy by' instead of 'Best before'. Schwooop. Barclays Bank rename their cashpoints as more fun 'Holes in the wall'. Bleuuurrrggh!

Ah. There is such a thing as over-doing a schwooop.

Tools not rules
A thought

Tools not rules.

There is a big skill in guideline writing. Too often it's a skill that isn't applied.

Guidelines need to know when to rule - and when to let go. Common words in guidelines include;

do, do not, must, must not, minimum, maximum, adhere, follow.

What there's rarely enough of includes;

Try, Maybe, how about, be free, flexible, as long as, add.

Some will say it's for good reason. Opening up a rule book to allow for grey areas of interpretation will lead to inconsistency in look and quality. I'd argue that your agencies were perhaps just not good enough, if that was the case. A bad work man and all that.

I've got some evidence to back up the idea of what might be thought of as creating tools - not rules. If I think of the biggest culprits for throwing away the rule book - it would be ad agencies. Oppositely, design agencies are often the goody-two-shoes who are most likely to stick t'road all the way to East Proctor.

Now, flick through the pages of the better creative awards annuals. It's very likely the section on advertising is thicker than design. Often, I hear this is an issue on generosity. I just wonder if its more merited than that. I wonder that ad agencies are begin a bit more Maybe than Must Not.

So, think tools not rules when it comes to implementing a brand. Better still, ditch the word 'implementation'. Nothing that was ever implemented ever set the world alight.

Why?
A thought

Every now and then, you'll see a list of essential equipment that designers must have to enjoy a flourishing career. It usually involves an Apple product or three, and a thesaurus or awards book.

I'd like to suggest there's one key item that rules over them all. It's not expensive, difficult to use or need batteries. It's the question, 'Why?'.

'Why?' is the one-word skeleton key for any creative challenge that needs a brilliant response. And, in all honesty, it's the tool I've used to help design my best and favourite work. Specifically, you have to use it several times - sometimes on the same issue, sometimes - like a blunderbuss - lightly all over a thorny problem.

'Why?' is like some kind of antidote to routine. It stifles predictability and helps challenge the norm.

There's been a few historically important projects solved with 'Why?' that I've liked to have witnessed;

'So, this new desktop computer we're designing: we're gonna put it in an emotionless grey box yeh?
'Why?'

'I'm developing your new blogging platform. We're just creating the space for people to write more than 140 characters now.'
'Why?'

'Now all we need to do is put the concentrated lemon juice in this bottle that's very practical and normal looking.'
'Why?'

The best designers are the Kings/Queens of Why. What they show is similar to that nagging a child has when wanting to know more about the world. The best designers don't stop asking Why until they're satisfied they've found themselves in a more interesting place that truly answers a brief.

To that point - asking Why is a brilliant creative brief development tool as much as it works to answer them.

It's something that might need pactice. I recently read some research by the University of Michigan that said that only 37% of children who ask Why get a response from their parents. I wonder that if only a third of Whys get answered, whether it becomes less immediately thought of to use in later life. If anything in life misfires two-thirds of the time, the chances are you'll tend not to bother using it after a while and make do another way.

So, parents: if you what your children to be the next big creative thing, get ready for some exhausting rapport with the little 'uns. Hopefully, asking Why will then become rewarding and a close friend in their vocabulary as the grow up. Clients - get your agencies in and start asking them Why on what they're doing more and test the quality of their Because.

Awards
A thought

Come up with a great idea.
Make it happen.
Win an award!
Let doubt creep in.
Begin to feel like you fluked it.
Turn despondency into determination.
Turn the next brief upside down.
Come up with a great idea.
Make it happen.
Win an award!
Let doubt creep in.
Begin to feel like you fluked it.
Turn despondency into determination.
Turn the next brief upside down.
Come up with a great idea.
Make it happen.
Win an award!
Let doubt creep in.
Begin to feel like you fluked it.
Turn despondency into determination.
Turn the next brief upside down.
Come up with a great idea.
Make it happen.
Win an award!
Let doubt creep in.
Begin to feel like you fluked it.
Turn despondency into determination.
Turn the next brief upside down.
Come up with a great idea.
Make it happen.
Win an award!

Begin to believe you might be quite good…

Let doubt creep in.
Begin to feel like you fluked it.

Re-see
A thought

One key skill for anyone in the creative industry is to re-see the ordinary.

Kids do this naturally. It's then squeezed out of them with a decade of education to conform that tells them that it's always cold in Russia [average summer temperature in Moscow, 23˚C/73˚F, nice!] and that when you draw a house, it has two square windows on top, two beneath, a door in the middle and the roof is a triangle but for the square chimney with loopy smoke coming out of it. And so on.

So, let's practice at re-seeing – and boost our creative cognition. Let's simply look down at your keyboard. I know you're at your desk.

Go to the speechmark key, next to the colon key. Hey - it's a startled little man going "Oooh!".

How about the two keys to the right of M. Or, as I like to re-see them: the two blind snowmen who can't stand the sight of each other - even if they had eyes.

Let's push it a little. Look at the V key. Sleeping owl. Sleeping owl. Sleeping owl. Sleeping owl. OK - a bit of stretch - but you got there in the end, yeh?

Let's go to something easier now then. Shift key: a house. Easy.

Now, let's go multi-key… Look at the 6 and 7 keys. Add the Y key below. And G, H, J. Do you see that slightly puzzled monkey, eyebrow raised? Now we're really re-seeing.

That one is tougher than the chirpy Tin-Tinesque face made from keys 9, 0, O and L.

The backward slash key next to the Return key – a broken twig?

Assuming your J key has that bump to help clever-clogs typists who don't need to look down: well look down now. It's a moody jazz musician with long hair over their eyes.

There's endless others. Though, I'm stumped at the space bar. The best I can do is see the doorless, rectangular hangar window from a Death Star that miraculously stops the vacuum of space. Even more so with my laptop's black keyboard. But I feel that's not really a well shared vision.

And, if you didn't see any of the things I've described here, well done for accurately choosing accountancy as a career.

Colourblind
A thought

To do brilliant creative work: be colourblind.

I meet too many colourblind designers. It's memorable because I'm quite badly colourblind myself - often picking the wrong semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, not really knowing if the Sky box is recording or not and for a while playing football at school in all-pink kit, unaware a pair of red socks had interfered with my once white kit in the wash.

It seems a disaster for design. On the contrary - I think it helps deliver great work. And, in part, explains the propensity of colour blind designers knocking around. Disadvantaged on a personal level makes a subject like colour totally objective. I'm suspicious and indifferent to every colour in the world. A rainbow is like a room full of dull people not doing much to make me like them. If I have to choose one of these colours for a brand or design - it's not going to be personal. It's going to be because they're right for the job.

There's no favouritism with a colourblind person in command.

It's true for all other parts of design too. Designer familiarity has lost me objectivity several times in the past. I've recommended a Lomo imagery style and had it pushed back in my face for being too amateurish… 'Can they not see the spontaneity!!' I've had typeface choices rejected because they looked too basic or jokey, when I've thought them the height of style or coolly ironic.

In theory, an ideal designer will be colourblind, imagery style blind, typeface ignorant, never printed or designed anything before in their life to avoid being prejudiced or scarred or influenced by experience.

In practice, we show our work to our mothers, grandmothers, receptionists, mate who works in PC World: they'll give you perspectives you could never see, being perfectly blind to all your experience.

Earwig
A thought

So, Mr Earwig walks into a branding agency.

Bear with me on this.

"You have to help me. I need rebranding.", says Mr Earwig to the bemused designers, with his head in his mandibles.

"People hate me. I look awful - like some kind of depressing, brown coloured mini-scorpion."

"I tend to make people jump because I like to hide in tiny spaces of everyday life, like in between newspaper pages and under shoes – and then leap out when disturbed."

The designers nod and pretend to make notes.

"And worst of all, I'm called an 'earwig' which sounds terrifying and not a little bit sinister:" He gazes out of the crittall windows. "I've never been in an ear. Or a wig." sighed the insect.

The designers patted the depressed Mr Earwig on his shoulder. Well, they would have done if he had any. Instead, they make him a comforting coffee from the trendy, if awkward to pour, coffee pot.

"We can help. Come back in a week for the concept presentation." smile the designers.

Mr Earwig faintly smiles back. Not least because they didn't mention anything about fees and he wondered if he might get the concepts stage for free.

A week later Mr Earwig returns and sits down expectantly in the all-white meeting room.

'We've cracked it." announce the design team, as they tab through the first slide of the PDF.

"Firstly. The colour and shape thing. We're ditching brown. We're bringing in red: it's far more energetic and fun. It's the colour of success: statistically, football teams that play in red are more likely to win, y'know."

"We're adding pzazz too. We're thinking a nice spotty repeat pattern would work well."

Mr Earwig sits up. He likes the sound of this.

The designers go on, "We're removing all the snakelike spikiness and making you round. Circular things are more cute and appealing."

"We're slowing you down too. No more dashing about. Speed is so over. Noodling about is where the future lies."

Mr Earwig nods slowly, practising what was just preached.

The designers ready themselves for their biggest reveal, 'Finally. We're changing the name. No more "earwig". Instead, we've come up with something… charming. Something cute and delightful that will make people like you. Something that will have small children who ordinarily run away from insects, stop and pick you up. Let you run across their finger."

Mr Earwig furrows his non-existent brow, amazed in semi-disbelief at this claim.

"Mr Earwig. Allow us to present… the Ladybird."

Mr Earwig stares in silence at the stark word on the polyboard. WIth crushing disappointment, he silently gets up to leave. As he gets to the door, the designers pride turns to confusion in an instant. In a tizz, they frantically wonder what's gone wrong. Desperately, they call out of the window as Mr Earwig shuffles down the street,

'Hang on! We've even come up with a nursery rhyme to PR a bit of a sob story!"

The forlorn Mr Earwig doesn't even bother to look back, muttering something about moths and butterflies.

Be human
A thought

When stuck: try humanising it.

There's one powerful direction that every, I think, design and branding project can take that's certain to work. In short, it's to humanise it.

I was drinking a take away coffee once. Its lid said 'Caution, I'm hot'. In a world that has the more often than not legalese along the lines of 'Caution: contents may be hot', this message lodged in my noggin.

Pondering it, I came to the conclusion that it lodged because lids aren't suppose to speak like people. Then I thought, more than that, I liked that it had spoken to me. And I think we all do.

We love it when animals on talent shows and YouTube walk like people, or 'shake hands', or say 'shos-sha-gees'. People name their cars. We refer to boats as 'she'. We have lady luck and old father time. We like to humanise things.

In one respect - this is a big call for humour and wit. Anything humorous is therefore defying logic, mechanics, literal - non-human stuff. Anything funny, is generally, fun, creative, for a laugh - human.

It can also be more literal than that. Logos with people in them - they're appealing. Fun. Product design: in my limited experience, the more rounded, human, face-like the style - the more we find it attractive.

Of course, writing itself can take note. Brands will often begin with Usage Guidelines talking about how important it is to be human, down to earth, peer-to-peer. Which is funny when you think how odd and inhuman a word like Usage is. Does anyone ever use it outside of a 24 page PDF of guidelines?

Walking backwards
A thought

"We need a new logo."

Are you sure? A new logo is just one piece of a much bigger brand identity.

"We need a new brand identity."

Are you sure? Does it no longer reflect your brand strategy?

"We need a new brand strategy."

Are you sure? Is your brand strategy out of alignment with your business strategy?

"We need a new business strategy."

Are you sure? To do it properly will require proper time and investment.

"We need a new logo."

Be open-minded
A thought

I once heard Michael Wolff in a talk say that one of his biggest skills in being successful in the creative world was to be open-minded.

I’m not sure the impact of what he said really hit the room. But, it really stuck with me as it was the first time I’d heard a luminary of the industry be so candid on their own ability and flair. It was, in effect, an admission of pliability in a sector where you’d expect complete forthrightness and knowing; ‘I’ve done this a million times before - this is how to do it…’.

The truth is - he’s absolutely right. And, I’ve tried to apply open-mindedness in my career to be the best I can be too. It invites and encourages opinion. It freely lets in the daftest ideas onto the dancefloor - and, as we have all known, sometimes they walk away with the Disco champion trophy. It cross-pollinates good thinking. It encourages others: as long as they are not afraid to speak their mind.

There is an art to knowing when to stop. You’ll notice when Captain Picard on Star Trek the Next Generation is in a big pickle, he’ll open up the Bridge to suggestions. As they stumble from one side of the studio floor to another, pretending to be hit by phasers, they’ll all offer their view of avoiding obliteration. Having considered everything - Picard will then re-assume command before the shields are destroyed and make the call to save the day. It’s textbook managerial style that works on any problem, be it Klingon or gnarly poster design brief.

Be open minded - or should that be maybe be open minded? - and you’ll do well in the creative industry and Starfleet.

Drawing pin
A thought

Is there a drawing pin on your chair?

If you’re presented with your next big idea and all you feel is mild contentment, it’s too safe.

If you feel an ice cold finger of terror run down the back of your spine, it’s award winning - but you could get fired.

If you feel the sort of sharp but manageable ping of yowch that could equate to sitting on a drawing pin - it’s probably perfect.

It might win an award too.