Thursday, 6 March 2014

Talking Heads: Marketing & Design

Last night I had the great pleasure of going to an event run by Creative Edinburgh in conjunction with Edinburgh College of Art.  It was called “Talking Heads: Marketing & Designand included “lightening” talks from 10 people within the creative industry – all doing different types of jobs and in different stages in their career.

I’ll admit it was completely different from what I had anticipated and quite far out of my comfort zone, however I really enjoyed it.  I chuckled to myself a couple of times during the evening; such as when I filled in the attendance form and found that my graduation date (and University) was nothing like any of the other attendees, and when I saw a juxtaposition of things in a corridor (per below).

You may not be able to read it, but the words on the mini forklift say "Eco Warrior".
Looked so funny (to me) sat next to the Roman Warrior - how we've changed...!

It was great though.  Even if I had only gone to exercise a different part of my grey matter I would have enjoyed it.  However, I actually learnt quite a lot – the evening was applicable to a far wider audience, intended or not.  For instance, here are a couple of things I learned:

  • A lightening talk (in this instance) is a 5 minute presentation regarding a given topic, using 20 slides each of which was given 20 seconds each.
  • Being yourself, and knowing your brand, is so important when interacting on line.  This makes complete sense - it’s just more authentic isn’t it.  This does mean that you don’t have to make the pattern you don’t really like but feel you should because everyone else seems to be making it.  In the words of (the wonderful) Dolly Parton – find yourself and be it on purpose.
  • Milo McLaughlin, Content Producer & Strategist, Clear-Minded Creative taught me that “Your audience is the hero of your story”.  Doesn’t that ring true.  How nice does it feel getting a comment from someone who has engaged with the content of your blog post?  It feels a little like making a new friend or firming an existing friendship doesn’t it?
  • One reoccurring theme from David Mahoney Ilustrator & Community Professional at Behance Scotland was that it’s not about ideas themselves, but about making ideas happen.  This has echoes of Tim Gunn’s “make it work” catch phrase, but also I think it’s wider reaching than that.  We don’t all need to be Westwood, Dior or YSL coming up with amazing, new ideas to be of any worth – the actual creation and realisation of ideas is a worthy goal as well.
  • One of the presenters fainted half way through her (up to that point) interesting presentation.  This surely personifies “the fear” for anyone else that, like me, has to give presentations at work.  And you know what?  The evening went on, it continued to be a success and everyone had nothing but concern for the presenter (who was fine after a little sit down, fresh air and water).  You know what I took from that – not meant uncharitably at all – it was that even if the worst happens, the impact of “the worst” is probably not as bad as feared.  Feels good, doesn’t it?   
  • Vana Coleman, Designer at Half Past Plum introduced us (me) to her office: the Dovecot Studios (  Lush.
  • There is a tannery factory in Glasgow that will dye hides to order… wowzers.  I need to do some research into that little nugget provided by Fi Scott, Founder & Designer at Make Works 
  • There was a lot of talk that was both contradictory and yet made perfect sense: taking control of your agenda and sticking with it, whilst recognising that something useful will be gleaned from even the most seemingly unrelated job.  Maintain your individual creative identity and encourage it to flourish, whilst having it evolve through a consideration and application of other people’s ideas and influences. 
  • James McVeigh, Marketing & Innovation at Festivals Edinburgh finished his presentation, which was the last, with the plea for us to “always be curious and keep the passion in our lives”.  Ain’t that the key to a happy soul?

The other speakers were equally interesting, I mean I could go on and on but that’s not the point I was trying to make.  I’ll leave you with the latest addition to my “Aesthete in Training” folder where I try to find the beauty in everyday things.  This is just one of the corridors in the building in which the event was held.  The lines and materials in this corridor were so pleasing to my eye and made me feel like I was in a cocoon of learning – bliss essentially.

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