D&AD President’s Lecture

On Wednesday night MB’s Ben, Callum, Fiona and I shuffled down to see Lord David Puttnam, Sir Alan Parker and Bob Gill in conversation as part of D&AD’s 50th anniversary celebrations. We went expecting war stories from the early days of advertising and the gentlemen delivered over and above.

The area of discussion which struck us all, was the subject of ideas. And having great ones. Puttnam argued that today’s young designers are the first generation to be creating straight out of a screen. Screens which overload us with so much data and facts, great ideas become stifled.

To illustrate the point, Gill used the example of working on a laundromat brand. He advised us to forget everything we know and think about laundromats and every image that comes to mind. And actually go to a laundromat and stay there until we’ve had an interesting thought. Because then it designs itself.

At Moving Brands we have that vital visit to the source built into our process. We’ve been everywhere from Northampton shoe factories, to remote farms on the other side of the world. MB’s Ben commented, that while our ways of developing and delivering great ideas have changed, the methods for getting them in the first place have remained identical. But it’s worth noting that if Gill, Parker and Puttnam can start out at 19 with just a pencil and a tin of cow gum and change the landscape of design, then we – with our endless technology and access, really have no excuses.