The relativity, inequality and subjectivity of creativity

Regardless of how you define beauty, you’re probably right.

Not because I’ve been fed the beauty is in the eye of the beholder proverb, but because like most things around us, beauty is subjective.

Nobody can prove what you see as beautiful, wrong.

And how would you define boring without considering or bringing your definition of interesting into play? When judging whether a design is good or not, does one have to refer to their definition of bad design? It’s hard to label someone as overweight without having considered the size of an ‘average’ person.

New Oxford American Dictionary defines creativity (of a person) as:
Having good imagination or original ideas.

Nothing strange with that. Allow me to give in to the temptation to ask, what is original?

It’s definition has “first and not a copy or imitation” which is true but:

Not everything that one sees for the first time means, they’re the first or an original.

So doesn’t originality depend highly on whoever sees ‘this+that’ ‘s experience or encounter with ‘this+that’?

Whatever that I’ve never seen, thou exist, will be new to me when I lay my eyes on for the first time.

Nobody has seen everything, so something ‘old’ is bound to be ‘new’ to somebody.

Drum roll …And then enter creative awards.

Creative people are hired to be, well creative. And what make their job well-done, is when the client or whoever is responsible for approving the work believes the creative has been themselves.
The issue I have with awards is that there always has to be a winner, which means they don’t necessarily award based on excellence but the ‘best’ in that particular year and category.

I’ve never heard of an award ceremony where nothing was awarded, because nobody was deserving — there just have to be a winner!

The brings a question to mind, what is the best?

How is ‘the best’ judged or defined in creative work?

Judging creative work has moved from the proximity between the brief and creative solution, to comparing and letting creatives compete against themselves. Which is well, selfish.

Whoever wants to see creatives compete should finance the competition, the clients’ pocket should be left out of this.

When I pay company x to develop a corporate identity for me, their priority should be on achieving the best possible solution, that is within the brief + budget + timeframe — not obsessing on kicking company z‘s butt, come the lories!

Incentives, bait and the loss of purpose

Most companies pay you more if you have more or any awards under your belt. Are creatives hired based on what they did or won (past) and not on what they can do (present + future).

Awards are highly based on the judge’s opinions (and usually, personal preferences + taste)… And awards are made of the past, you ‘beat’ others, but that’s long gone.

And yesterday doesn’t matter, the present (today/now) is all that matters.

Yesterday, is no more. And tomorrow doesn’t exist.

Tomorrow is and will always be a continuously shifted target. Just as you think you’re about to reach it, they call it today — as today was tomorrow, yesterday!

“What is award winning material, creativity wise?”

Everything is creative, it highly depends on the judge’s definition of creative.

Great design fails to be because of the judge (usually the client’s) subjective judgment or preferences.

The standard or value of a compliment is only as good as the standard of the person who complemented, on what the complemented is complimented on.
If Paul Rand told you that you’re a great graphic designer, It will definitely mean more than an over-weight person calling you fast.

And there are ‘reputable’ creatives that one is likely to value their criticism or praise — but what makes a great creative, a great creative? Fame, having six logos that you designed featured in ‘creative’ design annuals?

What is excellence? what is a good creative? whose definition of ‘creative person’ do we go with? and why?

What is a successful ad campaign? Whose definition do we judge it on? the brief or the consumers’ take on the campaign?
Whose definition of ‘creative’ do we take, the sender (client), the sent (creative) or the receiver (consumers)?

The brief, right? I think campaigns usually get more credit that they deserves — a sale is (usually) that complicated.

Judging is highly based on the ‘best’ and ‘most’ — but who’s level are we judging on?

So the ‘best’ can sort of be defined as the highest possible level or state that has been achieved. But,
Impossible in my world means, never heard, seen or done before.

Tell me one thing, between (other) creatives + brief (client’s goals), what are creatives judged mostly on, come awards ceremonies?

Don’t get me wrong, excellence must be acknowledge and celebrated — but not at the expense on the clients’ time, business and money.

I think clients’ goals are being isolated from the creativity, if not
Has there ever been a tie between two creatives whose client’s business realized the same percentage on ROI made on the creatives’ expertise?

Different clients demand different ‘results’ from their collaboration with the creative, they have different business challenges and different sized resources.

How can two athletes said to be competing if one runs on the 500m track on their own, while the other runs on an 800m track?

If you want people to compete and be judged fairly, give them the very same client challenges, opportunities and time frame.