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What makes us creative?

Published on Wednesday, 3rd February 2016, contributed by True Digital

Junior Analyst Rosie looks at the importance of side projects. 
Here at True we’ve been exploring who we are as an agency. Being an agency, this has resulted in lots of workshops (and a shed-load of post-it notes).
Out of these workshops have fallen a lot of similar suggestions. A big one is research and development time. After all, who doesn’t dream of the famous Silicon Valley 80/20 week, where staff are paid to pursue side projects? Clearly they aid culture, creativity and innovation.
As it happens, I recently heard a talk from Bob Mytton about his side project: Jazz Types. As a designer, he had found himself consistently turning to old solutions and ways of doing things. So he picked 100 jazz artists, and set about designing a poster for each of them.
Here’s what I learned from Bob’s talk:

  • When you work routinely, you can slip into habits and forget to push your creativity.
  • Having a brief is a useful way to stop the paralysis that comes with endless possibilities.
  • You don’t need to focus on the outcome; it’s the act of doing that’s important. It’s all about exploring the creative process.
  • ‘Unbillable’ side projects should be seen as an investment – the creativity and spirit they provide are invaluable.

Inspired by Bob and by the idea of pursuing side projects, I decided to ask around here at True, to see what people have been working on. Here’s what I unearthed.
Sarah, Senior Copywriter 
Fittingly, Sarah has been teaching herself calligraphy, resulting in lots of ink stains on her dining table. Sarah says “As a writer, it’s lovely to take a different approach to forming words. Calligraphy focuses on the way the words look, rather than what they say.”

Nathan, Developer
With virtual reality on the rise – and over 20 million VR-reliant devices set to be sold in 2016 - Nathan has been developing 3D scenes, with the ultimate aim of creating a virtual reception area here at True.
James, Head of Strategy
Music is a big part of James’ life. So much so that he co-writes a site dedicated to lyrics. This has been both a labour of love and a creative outlet for him. Not only that, but writing has helped him better understand the role of a strategist in the creative process.

Danny, Senior Account Executive 
Danny is also passionate about music. He’s currently enrolled in an electronic music production course, and is well on his way to completing his first track. Keep an ear out!
Mark, Design Director 
Mark is a keen photographer. He picked up his first camera (a Pentax K1000) at 15 years old, and has loved photography ever since. He’s drawn to abstract settings and dramatic lighting. Imagery plays a major part of his day-to-day work, and his photography has definitely helped influence and develop his design work.
Jack, Business Development Manager
Jack and Mark have bonded over their love of music and record collecting, teaming up to form Gold Diggers, a DJ partnership. They’ll be promoting their upcoming events here.
Gabor, Developer
Friska is a much-loved chain of cafes here in Bristol. Gabor has spent the last five years writing and building Friska’s business management system. He’s relished the chance to explore code and push himself further as a developer.
Rich, Senior Designer and Alan, Head of Customer Experience 
Like lots of the people here at True, Rich and Alan are both keen cyclists. The two of them have teamed up to create some custom-made cycling kit for spring 2016.
Tom Johnson, Senior Account Manager
Tom has written – and published – a children’s book. Based on a real toy monkey he has at home, he wrote the story for his young niece. We all have a book inside us, but Tom went one step further and actually wrote it. Pretty impressive. If you want to buy a copy of Blue Monkey you can do so here.
As you can see there’s a lot of creativity and talent flying around here at True. If you’d like to hear more about any of the projects please get in touch.