The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Paint Pictures, Not Instructions …

I like quotes.

Always have.

I like them because they often frame something in a way that sets my brain on another track.

It’s why I enjoyed the Rules Of Rubin series I did a while back. And while that was for a specific work-related reason, I came out of it with far more than I imagined.

Recently I had another one of those quotes, not by Rubin but by Paracelsus … a Swiss physician who was a pioneer in many areas of the medical revolution’ during the Renaissance.

It’s that one at the top of this post.

Yes, I know what it is saying is obvious.

Let’s be honest, the phrase ‘everything in moderation’ has been around for decades, but there’s something about this that just has more bite.

Maybe it’s the use of the word poison.

Maybe it’s the way it doesn’t define any specific thing as bad.

Maybe it’s the way it doesn’t feel condescending or judgemental.

But it set my mind whirring far more than using words like ‘moderation’ and I would imagine it would do the same to any creative having to work with such a brief.

Quotes have a wonderful way of doing that.

They’re far more valuable to provoke different ways of thinking than filling in a creative brief with the answer you want the creatives to execute rather than giving them the problem you want their brains to explore and resolve.

We’re in danger of only valuing literal thinking rather than lateral … and that’s what I love about quotes. They challenge how you think … make you take some leaps, look in some new corners, explore what you think is possible … but never adding pressure on what or where you go with them.

I have always had a hard time writing briefs.

I place so much pressure on myself to get to something intriguing and interesting that I end up writing 7 or 8 different versions – all with different possibilities – so I and the team – can have a real chat about where our energy is at.

I think my record is something like 14 odd for Spotify.

And that’s before we even start on all the other briefs that come from it.

I still do that, but what’s helped my sanity is starting with a bunch of quotes or poems or song lyrics. Stuff related to the issue without being obviously directly about it.

It’s such a great time saver to open discussion.

Like the brief before the brief.

The opportunity to work out what excites you about a possibility without getting too lost in the detail of the possibility. At least initially.

So next time you’re stuck on where you should go, don’t start filling in the brief boxes in the hope the answer will present itself [it never does] … fill up the walls with stuff that opens things up before you start closing things down.

Because the best briefs are not a flow of logic, but a story of adventure.

14 Comments so far
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that quote perfectly fucking explains what its like to deal with you campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Comment by Rob

i laugh in the face of your petty attempts to insult me campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

“Like the brief before the brief.”

The most important part of the brief.

Comment by George

The brief before the brief ended up being the chat before the work.

Comment by DH

Guilty as charged. Hahahaha.

Comment by Rob

Love the quote that heads this post.

There’s a lot of valuable insights in here about brief writing. The early conversation, the research and stimulus.

I remember how surprised I was when we started working together and I saw you go to all this additional trouble to write a brief. Then I saw the impact it had and was a quick convert. I imagine your approach is still the exception rather than the rule. I remember there used to be this underlying attitude that if you could write a brief quickly, you were something special. Rarely did the work that came out of it reflect that supposed brilliance.

Comment by George

I want to let you know how much I admire you George. Whatever the post content, whatever the commentary, you always respond in earnest tones. It’s almost as if you think you can elevate the maturity on here. It’s been years. Admit defeat and get with the programme.

Comment by DH

Hahahahahaha … you’re such a bastard Dave.

Comment by Rob

Poor George.

Comment by Pete

It’s not because I’m mature, It’s because I’m not immature.

Comment by George

George drops the mic. Or at least attempts to. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

This -> “Because the best briefs are not a flow of logic, but a story of adventure.”

Comment by Pete

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