How to have great creative ideas for advertising and design

THE ART AND SCIENCE OF IDEAS - MAY 2019
0.1 A word from Tim Lindsay, CEO at D&AD


I’ve been in the advertising business 41 years; 33 of them as an account executive of some description. It’s a noble calling. Frank Lowe, Martin Boase, Jay Chiat and Bill Tragos were proud to be account handlers and so am I (although I hate the term ‘suit’).


But that’s enough about me.


The job, when it’s boiled down to its essence, is to find out what the client really needs, as opposed to wants. To do this, a team needs to be mobilised.  Whatever your role is – writer, art director, designer, developer, strategist  the aim is the same: to exceed your client’s expectations, and surprise and delight them. But what is the search all for? What’s the Holy Grail?


Well, it’s usually for the fabled and elusive ‘big idea’, sometimes called an “organising” or “over-arching idea”. Personally, I like the “organising” thought. Because that’s what a big idea does. 


What does it organise? Thinking, mainly.


A big, organising idea encapsulates a brand’s special appeal, captures a philosophy, enshrines a motivating point of difference. It's a war cry, a standing order to staff and customers alike, gets talked about in pubs, clubs, offices and playgrounds, becomes part of the language; It's any or all of the above. The best organising ideas become prized corporate assets and serve companies over decades.


Think of…

Every little helps.

The power of dreams.

Good things come to those who wait.

Quality never goes out of style.

Finger-lickin' good.

Think different.

Dirt is good.

Just do it.

It’s a Tide ad.

We try harder.

Liberté, egalité, fraternité.


How do you get there? Well, you can do everything right and get the wrong outcome. And, very occasionally, you can do everything wrong and get the right outcome. But the truth is you can maximise your chances of a great result by listening to people who have done it and learning some techniques and processes that have stood them in good stead and will serve you too.


That’s what this D&AD course is all about. Because that’s what D&AD is all about; a passionate belief in the power of creativity to create great outcomes – commercially, socially, culturally, environmentally, politically.


Come and learn from the experts, then change the world.


Tim Lindsay, CEO, D&AD