As we grow our business, we spend a lot of time thinking about creativity itself. Leases, new purchases and credit card bills force us to sometimes take work that pays well but won't end up in our portfolio or reel. And that's OK - to a degree. To steal an old saying, filmmakers will take work for any one of three reasons at the beginning of their career - for the reel, for the relationship, or for the revenue. We're coming to terms with the reality that some work will motivate our mission of impact not in the short term itself, but in the long term by allowing us to grow. But its important that we always stay focused on that ultimate goal, stay true to our brand, and most importantly, stay true to ourselves.
It's all too easy for creatives to get caught on the hamster wheel, saying "yes" to too much or for the wrong reasons. As we navigate this process, we look to our friends at Oat for a model on how to determine success by our own measurements. They've taught us that in the long run, the most meaningful and effective way of creating value is actually by creating creativity. Setting time aside to focus on what's honest to yourself, creatively fulfilling and meaningful, not just what's profitable, will actually pay off in the long run.
A little over a year ago, we met Rory and Jen from Oat. They’re a team of two that helps companies discover and communicate their brand and identity. Their work has been featured in Communication Arts and Print Magazine, and their stunningly simple use of words and design attract clients like MIT, Harvard, HBO, Fonts.com, and pretty much every great restaurant in town.
They say that like many other start-ups, they thought they had to staff-up to be more legitimate, and that success was defined by size. How big is your team? Soon they were managing a team of designers, in theory making their business larger and more productive, but in reality removing themselves further from their craft.
So they reinvented and started over - now a small team of just themselves and a few trusted creatives, and a huge threat to some of the larger brand identity and design firms in town. To us, that’s a great case of how to get more milage out of less, how to stay nimble and provide greater value through a highly focussed attention to fewer projects. While the rest of the creative agency industry is project managing their project managers, Jen and Rory spent last winter working remotely from Ireland, bringing back new experiences that show in their work. How big is your team? Maybe it’s time we find a new conversation starter.
Working with Rory and Jen has been an absolute joy. Shortly after meeting them at a Creative Mornings meeting, we agreed to collaborate on trade. They crafted our brand identity, from our logo to our language. We feel like the depth of their process shows - starting with interviews with us individually, research into our history and work, and ending with an elegant presentation and meaningful deliverables. After that, we got started on their story. We've really learned a lot from them, and have already started collaborating with them on the next project. We hope you enjoy it!