My Top 10 Survival Rules for Creative People

After having been ‘in the trenches’ of advertising and marketing for more years than I care to remember, I have managed to glean certain bits of wisdom, which I am happy to share with you today.

I’m not doing this out of a sense of duty or anything. In fact the theory of enlightened self- interest applies here in spades. Let me explain.

If you are a creative person and you take these tips to heart, they might just make you a better, or at least a more discerning, creative person, in which case you’ll be helping to raise the standard of creative quality. If you’re a client, this can enhance your insight into how creative people function and hopefully make more astute decisions when it comes to evaluating the work that’s stuck in front of you.

In either case, it’s a win win for everybody including me, mainly because when the standards are higher, everybody’s job is both easier and more fun.

If that all sounds a little pretentious, so be it. It is my blog after all, and the very act of filling it with my opinions and observations is pretty much as pretentious as it gets. However pretentious it may appear, the fact remains that we all have some wisdom to impart to the world and who knows who will benefit from it?

Jim’s Top 10 Survival Rules for Creative People

1. Creating communication that looks and sounds great but is off strategy does no one any good in the long run. Not even you. Don’t fall in love with an idea unless it’s on strategy.

2. Some writers art direct. Some art directors write. But most don’t. Stick to what you’re good at. You’ll be happier that way.

3. Prospective clients do look at and read your web site. It’s in your best interest to make sure it doesn’t suck.

4. Back up your files every couple of days. Starting from absolute zero after a crash is the best way to go broke and lose a lot of good ideas.

5. Don’t show clients too many concepts. If you do you could run the risk of ending up with some hybrid idea that nobody will understand. Not good.

6. Sometimes you have to let clients do things themselves. After they decide they are unhappy with it, they’ll appreciate you more.

7. Certain types of business do not make good clients. These are people who figure you are making more money than them. The sooner you identify (usually by how loudly they complain about your fees) and get away from them, the better off you will be.

8. Always answer your email and phone messages ASAP. Not doing that is how you lose business.

9. If you like a client or feel they have potential, don’t be afraid to invest a little time in them. Its worth it.

10. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships. If you do too much work for people you don’t like, you can end up not liking yourself.

O&U LOGO 2013

Onwords & Upwords  is a creative communications company in Toronto Ontario.

It is owned and operated by writer, art director and producer,
Jim Murray and provides creative services to design companies,
marcoms and entrepreneurial businesses who prefer
not to work with full service agencies.

Phone:  416 463-3475  •  Email:  •  Web Site: 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s