Friday, December 10, 2010

The role of the computer in creative departments

There is no way that I will be an idiot and claim the computer has no role in agencies, I am old but not that old.

The computer has changed things in the creative department…not all for the best.

Somehow the computer is too perfect, it makes presentations look too finished. We use to make a thing called layouts, magic marker on layout paper. It showed the idea in a simple way; it required a little imagination to see it finished. That was the secret; you were able to use photographers, designers, etc. to make contributions to the idea. It was a collaborative project, it was better.

Today the computer shows it finished, as it will appear; some of the magic is gone. I think the art director is limited to what he can find on the Internet, what he can swipe. The clients are not required to imagine anything, sounds good but is it really better?

I heard a story about an agency that had an electricity shortage, it was a few hours, the creative department came to a standstill, and even the copywriters could not work. Whatever happened to pencils and paper? Ideas should be able to be created without depending on computers.

In our Columbian office, no computers are used in the morning, just layouts, paper and pencil. The computer is used to finish ideas up, for presentation.

An agency in Brazil, a great one, has banned computers in the creative department. Just roughs, “show me the idea” screams the creative director, “not your skill on the computer.”

I think we might be depending on the technology and not the content. We are paid to make people see things in a new way, things they already know. Technology is wonderful, but it is not what we are paid for, we are paid to make relative connections with the consumer on behalf of our client’s brands.

The digital agencies have yet to reach their potential creatively.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, a communication idea, content, will never be made by a computer programer, no matter the program.


  1. I love this one. You have really hit the nail on the head. You are not just losing your creativity, you are losing all your cognitive thought. We used to be able to add 23 + 47 in our heads in a matter of seconds. Now you need your computer. In our office when the computers go down no one knows what to do. They just sit there and stare at each other.

    I can always find a way to solve something, but most people don't know what to do. How true.

  2. once again...
    you're so right.
    sometimes people forget that everything goes to an idea. that's the starting point.
    and it not only applies to advertising.
    also to tv.

  3. I agree ...
    any form of communication is especially beautiful when you first speak with paper and pencil and then ... to materialize the project through this machine called "computer"
    The secret is to keep this "magic" and pass it on in the best possible way

    p.s. (I hate computers even though my work is based on them in a large scale)