By day, Tim Floyd is graphic design and brand manager for Palmetto Health. But this talented art director and artist also knows a thing or two about being a successful CreateAthoner. For about five years running, Tim has donated 24 hours of his immense brainpower and talent to his friends at Riggs Partners, who founded CreateAthon in 1998. In fact, should you find your creativity sputtering at 3:30 am, Tim is one of the inspirational souls who can help you muster the courage power through the early morning crunch. Tim was kind enough to share a few thoughts about his experience and why he volunteers. Naturally, he did it in the most creative manner possible.
As a boy on a tobacco farm in Loris, South Carolina, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we did have a small pile of bricks in the back yard and a hundred acres of dirt to play in. So, my favorite toy was a brick. Brick car. Well, it was a car or a road scraper or a bull dozer or a sky scraper. It was whatever my imagination made it.
When a friend came over to play, I would say, “let’s go play brick car” and he would look at me with the same puzzled look I get today from the break room to the boardroom because some people can only see the brick. We have to open our imagination to the possibilities of what could be and not just see what’s there now.
When I think of creativity in advertising, it’s like that brick car. Creativity is not bound by circumstances or resources. Sometimes those limitations just add to the challenge.
My ideas usually come during the creative brief. I’ve trained my brain to think creatively and to quickly sketch some first impressions during the brief. My favorite words when working with a creative team are “what if” and “and.” Those words help keep brainstorming positive. Start your sentence with “What if” and the others should build onto that with “and.” For example, “What if we create an anniversary logo for Children’s Hospital.” Someone else can chime in with, “and, we could make it a super graphic on the entire front of the building.” Someone else could build on that with, “and, we could add a giant balloon on the top of the building.” Notice no one said, “I hate anniversary logos.” Negative words like that can kill the creative moment. If you don’t find value in the first person’s idea, start your own “what if” sentence.
At Createathon, our clients will hand us their problems that look like bricks to them and we will use our imagination to turn them into wonderful ideas they never saw before. My goal is not to just give them something they will remember, but to give them something they’ll never forget.