What’s happening to original thinking?

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The world of advertising has always plundered popular culture – even before the growth of the internet. Original ideas have been copied. Or at least ‘inspired’ some people’s creativity. But with Google and now the rise of Social Media,’naughty’ creatives and designers, who think no-one will ever notice, blatantly display someone else’s work as their own. Why would you do that? What does it achieve? Apart from the option of being uncovered and ridiculed.

True originals are created by that old phrase ‘99% perspiration, 1% inspiration’. It’s tough. It’s hard. But it’s damn satisfying when you get there. And when you do reach that nirvana – don’t be tempted as some are, especially in the digital world of web design, to replicate it on your next few projects just because you can re-skin, re-brand and re-use it. Where’s the fun in that? And much more telling – where is the client’s ‘brand’ in that?

But it’s not just design types whose original thinking is clouded by the digital world. Delve into the depths of social media and it’s the same. The copyists. The case studyists. With the etiquette of sharing ‘socially’, comes the easy option. If Company X do that, we can. If Agency Y did it that way, why don’t we just do the same thing? If Business Z were success with that, let’s see how they did it and follow that plan. Why? Because you’re afraid to try something different yourself? You need a safety net of somebody else’s originality to show you the way.

It’s a philosophy we’ve never believed in. For years, the only way to know what we did – outside of seeing the actual work itself – was when we entered it for awards. Our website was literally just fun and games. We kept the ‘creative’ wheels turning by doing what we considered were the best solutions. No matter what everyone else was up to. Same with Social Media, we just did it. Slowly. Enquiringly. Testing the water. A trial here, the odd fail there. It grew. We saw what it could achieve. What we could do. We learned by rolling up our sleeves and getting on with it. It’s the only valuable way to go, in our honest opinion.

A true enquiring mind should be able to discover, use, create and ‘sell’ the strategies, solutions and ‘successes’ for itself. If you want to learn what others do, don’t just take it verbatim and rely on them to do the ‘hard work’ for you.

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