More About Working with Those Creative Types

Okay, so not too long ago, I did a quick blog entry about how to work with your graphic department. If you give them the right kind of direction, you’ll get back something that’s close to what you’re looking for. And, boy, it helps if you speak the right language, otherwise the art in front of you might be light-years away from your concept.

Well, it just so happens that I was reading my Harvard Business Reviews again, and in one of the magazines was an article about how to work with a creative person. Lo and behold, even more great information I could share with you!

The article talked about a scenario where the creative department of a toy company was presenting their latest concept, a car-and-racetrack game. One of the people in the marketing department pointed out that he thought the car needed a monster. The comment was disregarded by the creative department, but later it was determined that a monster was indeed what the game called for. But at this point, deadlines were missed and more production costs incurred.

Creative peopleSo, how could that feedback have been given so that the artist in this equation didn’t ignore it, wasn’t annoyed by it? The authors of “Collaborating with Creative Peers” offered these suggestions:

Offer suggestions that are broad, unfinished ideas – By proposing a broad, not-totally-thought-through suggestion, you leave the idea open for an artistic person to explore. Conversely, if you propose a very complete and well thought through concept, a creative person might think that you’re putting your creative stamp on it, and be less likely to offer suggestions of his own.

Don’t get too excited – As a creative person, I tend to like it when people get excited about something I proposed, but authors Kimberly Elsbach, Brook Brown-Saracino and Francis J. Flynn suggest that you could be sending messages that you’re going to take the idea over. That could cause the creative person to withdraw, thinking he’s not needed anymore or that things won’t be done his way.

Give them time to think it over – Artistic team members like the opportunity to walk away with feedback, chew on it a bit, and figure out how to incorporate it into their work without losing their own artistic stamp.

These suggestions might make it sound like a creative person is very controlling, and that’s certainly not what this is meant to imply. The left-brained assistant wants to organize and arrange and isn’t necessarily tuned in to the creative mind, but the more effort that’s made, the better the relationship will go. The artist wants to keep some level of control over his ideas, see it come to fruition. If he sees that (a) you understand this, (b) that you don’t want to take over the idea and own it, and (c) give him time to digest feedback and suggestions so he can make them his own, then he’s going to be more willing to work with you!

Next Post:  Wednesday, April 13

Leave a Reply