Characteristics that enable great creative

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Account Director and master beer deliveryman, Tim Thomas put pen to paper this month after a chat we had about what it takes to make great creative…
4 minute read.

Over the last 18 years working in creative agencies, if I look at the work I am most proud of, the work that has been successful and the work that was super efficient, there are three character traits common to the people who were involved. These can best be summarised as Confidence and Courage.


Confidence is perhaps the most important quality to help to create the best work. Not to be confused with bravado, confidence comes across as a deep understanding of sector, brand purpose and audience. Someone that really knows the details and knows how to communicate that detail to the agency, and for those agency-side to “run with it”.

For me, confidence equals clarity. Clarity shines through in a simple brief, management of internal expectations and the willingness to encourage work (and fight for work) that focuses on results. Confidence doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Campaign changes that help us connect with your audience are absolutely critical. Whilst changes to typography or colours or other minutia that are based only on personal preference does nothing but make a campaign different, rather than better.


‘Have the courage to lets us be creative and we’ll give you our hearts and minds’ the agency cried. The type of people that work at creative agencies are curious, inquisitive and a little odd. We see the world differently, we choose a career that encourages different and fresh thinking. Status-quo is stifling to us and so to is giving us a solution on a plate. There is a wide range of skills and experience available to you under the agency roof. Use that varied experience wisely by spending your time researching the opportunity and defining the brief. Allow us to explore the problem or opportunity and propose solutions. That gives us a buzz and gets us out of bed.


Experience has shown us that clients and agency folk who exhibit these traits seem to achieve the best work, at the best rate. There is no doubt we strive to do our best for every client. We just tend to go the extra mile for clients that show us confidence and courage - and clients seem to love it when we reflect these traits back at them - it’s the stimulus we all respond to best.