For our reading week, we were required to read a book by advertising legend Sir John Hegarty, entitled "Hegarty on Creativity: There are No Rules". This witty and tongue-in-cheek pocket-sized manual contains Hegarty's insights into creativity and the creative industry. Although small in size, this book provides major food for thought and is incredibly inspiring and a must-read for any creative individual.
Hegarty continually stresses throughout the book that there really are "no rules" to being creative and succeeding in the industry. In each chapter he simply provides guidelines and invaluable pieces of advice for success and the ones that particularly resonated with me were:
- There is no such thing as originality: No idea is original and, as Hegarty comments, "Ideas borrow, blend, subvert, develop and bounce of other ideas". This is not a condemnation of plagiarism, but I think what most of us forgot is that truly good and creative ideas don't just come to us in a lightbulb moment. With that in mind, I think we can all take a simultaneous sigh of relief as often the most daunting element of being creative is trying to think of an 'original idea', when frankly this just doesn't exist. Hegarty stresses that the real value of an idea is in how it takes inspiration from anything and everything and how it reinterprets this into something fresh and never seen before.
- Recognise your talent: This was a chapter I found particularly amusing. Hegarty says, "We are all artists, but some of us shouldn't exhibit" - a harsh reality for some. What we should be doing is recognising our own talents and respect and nurture these, instead of trying to be good at everything.
- When the world zigs, zag: Yes, the strap line to the infamous 1982 Levi's ad created by BBH when trying to persuade consumers to purchase Levi's black denim jeans. This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice within the book and a quote every creative individual should live by. It reinforces the importance of being distinctive and not following the crowd, who wants to produce a piece of work like everyone else? Don't be afraid to look in a different direction and look to different sources for inspiration and ideas as, "By looking in the opposite direction, you might just find something new."
- Good is the enemy of great: As Hegarty states within this chapter, "Coming up with a great idea is a rollercoaster ride of thoughts with no logical progression." With these irrational thoughts and ideas flying all over the place, it can be easy to settle on one that feels right - however what we should be doing is asking ourselves, "But is it great?" If the answer to this is no then we should keep going and develop and refine that idea until it is great.