One of the things we pride ourselves on at WORK is that we are not a creative agency for the sake of creativity alone. We pride ourselves on being based in strategy. Creating something aesthetically beautiful alone has its place in the world but not in advertising. While artists want to convey a message or incite a conversation, design in the advertising world has a more calculated goal, bring in customers. With that goal in mind, we must ask ourselves, who it is we want to talk to, what it is we need to say, determine the best way to say it, and where. No matter how pretty the artwork, no matter how beautiful the layout, no matter how much buzz it might create if it does not solve the needs of the client then it is simply lovely visuals with no results.
Tinker Hatfield, footwear designer for Nike (think Air Jordans) describes our philosophy to a tee when he says, "For me, as a designer, it is not the ultimate goal to become self-expressive. The end goal is to solve a problem for someone else, and hopefully, it looks great to someone else, and it's cool to someone else.". Of course our designers want to create something beautiful, something visually striking but they have an added responsibility to produce artwork that can lead to action on the part of the viewer.
Tinker's story can be viewed in the wonderful Netflix documentary, Abstract, the Art of Design. But you can check out a clip from it below. It's interesting, a little frustrating (the man has some ridiculously cool toys!) and very inspiring. Hopefully, it will help designers to go beyond being creative, to being creative problem solvers.