Why creative should always be collaborative

True marketing success is often the result of a perfect marriage between copywriting and design.

It’s a fact.

When done right, they’re an unstoppable duo that spark the imagination, effortlessly catch attention and deliver your message clearly.

But that’s only when it’s done right.

There can be a temptation to outsource both services separately to try and save money. You might even feel like you can get away with outsourcing one creative service and attempting the other in-house.

This is less of a creative process and more like trying to force two mismatched puzzle pieces together.  Separately they look and sound incredible, but when you put them together, you’re left with one expensive, confusing and utterly redundant piece of advertising.

I took a moment to sit down with Art Director, Jan Lewis, to talk about why a creative collaboration between pictures and words is so important from the outset of a project. Having worked with brand names like Virgin Media and H&M, she’s a dab hand at conjuring up creative concepts.



You’ve seen some incredible projects in your career as an Art Director. How important would you say creative collaboration between copy and design is to the success of an advertising campaign?

It’s very important. The words and visuals need to work together as one. People often think anyone can write copy but clever copy is rare. The ideas stage should be worked on together. When the concept is agreed, the writer writes and the art director makes it look good but you’re still part of the same team.


If a client comes to you with pre-written content for a campaign, how easy do you find it to work with?

It’s not ideal but sometimes you have to work with what you’re given. I’d say it depends how well it’s written. If it has errors (I always proofread copy) or is too long for the space, I would ask if there is time or budget to have it looked at and advise them why I think it needs attention. If it’s fine or can’t be changed (apart from fixing typos), you just do your best. Communication is the key, always.


You work with freelance writers, how easy is it to maintain a creative partnership on one project long-distance and how do you work to overcome any issues?

It’s not really a problem. One of my favourite writers spent some time in New York and we worked together over Skype. Brainstorming is the fun part where you spark off each other so that’s best done together. I’ve also worked with writers who like to work on their own at the beginning and get some thoughts down while I do the same. Then we come together and see what we’ve both got. We’ll both have ideas the other hadn’t thought of or seeds of ideas that need two brains to develop.


How do you determine which freelancers are the right ones for your business? Is finding that special connection something you would invest time in finding?

My freelance years have helped. I can work with most people as there isn’t always a choice but that also means I’ve seen many different ways of working and remember the successes. I try and keep those people. You can like another creative’s work but you don’t know if you work well together until you try so yes, it’s worth investing time and experimenting.


How important is that initial collaborative brainstorming session between the two creative disciplines?

It’s my favourite part. Get the obvious ideas down (sometimes they’re the best ones) then see where it goes. Push through to the ridiculous then rein it back in. The art director can come up with headlines and the writer can draw scamps. It’s a team effort. When the concept is decided, we each go off to do what we’re best at. We both get to go up on stage on awards night!

So there you have it, folks! Don’t be a dumdum—get your creatives together in one room and let them do what they do best…together!

If you’d like to discover more about Jan and her work, you can find her at her internet home, Jan Lewis Creative. If you’re in the market for a kick-ass creative campaign, work with us both.


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