“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”

So wrote Sir Issac Newton in 1675. A great metaphor and it means “Using the understanding gained by major thinkers who have gone before in order to make intellectual progress”. The quotation stresses that today’s achievements would not be possible without the discoveries of the past.

In order to be creative, one needs to be knowledgeable and inspired by what has been done before, in all fields of life. Creativity is not only about making something new, but also about taking existing ideas, putting and using them as inspiration to create something that is creative, different, inspirational, thought provoking, relevant and engaging to your target audience.

When did you last come up with a brand new food recipe?

Or write a completely original piece of music?

It’s more likely that you beg, borrow and steal ideas from other people and experiences – and use them to inspire you in making that next killer dinner party meal or tune. There is no shame in using inspiration from other sources, as long as you give credit where it is due.

In our business, it is important to be creative and come up with new ideas all the time – and it’s hard! Most campaigns are only around for a short period of time, so we need to keep churning out fresh ideas constantly.

The best way to become more creative is not to force yourself to come up with new ideas, but rather to immerse yourself in different experiences and let new ideas come to you.

When it comes to design and creative inspiration, looking to the past, not just in design but for other inspiration, is key – after all an idea can come from anywhere. Some of the best ideas in advertising have come from everyday experiences.

But equally – dive into other creative disciplines.
Films, TV shows, books, magazines, art, music, architecture – all of these can be sources of inspiration for creative advertising campaigns. But don’t just copy what you see, use it as inspiration to open your imagination and make something new, something different, something that resonates with your audience in an unexpected or intriguing way.

The world is your oyster when it comes to finding inspiration for advertising campaigns, so get out there and start looking – don’t just look at a computer screen. Look up, down, look to the past, and all around you. Look beyond the usual inspiration website – the ‘it’s nice that’ and ‘Behance’s’ of the world – the shape of a building you glance, or a view you spot could be just as good a creative inspiration starter as that great ad you saw on Campaign’s website.

To end this article, I am going to ‘borrow’ a quote from Steve Jobs which, I think sums it up quite nicely:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Liam Forrest
Creative Director