Matt orange

 

Having led four separate creative departments over the years I have learnt many lessons of how to and how to not do things. I have learnt that I am a people person, how to be humble, patient and above all else, to listen.

I firmly believe that the value of any great creative company goes up and down in the lift every day – And being better with the people we work with, is the key to doing better work. We have to nurture our successes and continue to empower creative minds. So, I believe the way to a great creative department and successful agency is to:

  • Build a culture
  • Be a creative leader
  • Lead by example
  • Nurture success
  • Care for work and people
  • Stay curious
  • Clarity from understanding
  • Ask questions
  • Be decisive
  • Build trust

My four pillars

It may sound rather grand, but the truth is, trying to pinpoint what you tend to do naturally is probably more difficult than winning a Cannes Grand Prix but these four key points to me summarize what a good, if not great, creative leader should be doing. All the time.

Nothing is wrong, have a play

One of the greatest gifts we can give any creative mind is the freedom and space to think. It’s easy to forget that these minds are bubbling over with many things that aren’t necessarily helping them unpick the brief that they have in their hand, so giving them space to breathe it in for a while, pressure off, is worth every penny. I say this phrase out loud every time a new brief has been delivered and I see the smiles of relief it buys. Can it be wrong to have a play? Not if it lets those creative minds create great work it can’t.

Unify and inspire

The trick for me, in fact with any department in any agency is to encourage people to get on. That’s not to say that some light rivalry should be dismissed, but essentially we’ve all got to get along as time is not our bed fellow anymore. Increasingly, jobs will move from one team or designer to another, so it makes for a smoother working environment if they all get along. Sometimes though tough decisions need to be made, but overall as leader one should be managing expectations at all levels, focusing on delivery whilst under the banner of inspiration. Show them alternatives. Show them where they should be looking. And if necessary, roll the sleeves up and get stuck in.

Showcasing

In my last agencies I created an interesting slot where I’d showcase exciting new work from the fields of digital, design, music and art. Speakers from all walks of life would also come too and share with us how they made their latest mobile games or how they created an amazing digital installation and other technical achievements. But the key for me was that this wasn’t just for a creative elite, but open to the whole agency. And even the receptionist would be inspired. Which is good news. Because a wholly inspired agency produces wholly inspiring work.

Planting seeds

Good things in life, so I have learnt, take a little time. So best plan ahead if you want to get anywhere. Have a long game that includes the wider agency as a whole. As Creative Chief’s we’re not just here to inspire the creative department but all the other lovely people you work with too. From account managers to content strategists, from editors to producers, some carefully planted inspirational, thought provoking and empowering seeds of knowledge will aid significant up lifts in quality and output. And I promise a happier and more profitable agency to boot.

Download CV here

 

Selected Press

2017

Graphis Design Annual 2017

New York, USA

 

2016

Creative Review

London, UK

Creativepool Annual

London, UK

Graphis Design Annual

New York, USA

Graphis Logo Annual

New York, USA

BBC News
London, UK

Channel 4 News
London, UK

ITV Evening News
London, UK

The Telegraph Newspaper
London, UK

Guardian Newspaper
London, UK

 

2015

Creativepool Annual

London, UK

 

2008

Graphis Advertising Annual

New York, USA

 

2006

Lurzer’s Archive

International

 

2006

Campaign Magazine

London, UK

 

2005

Campaign Magazine

London, UK

 

2004

Campaign Magazine

London, UK

 

Judging & Mentoring

2017

MA Student Mentor

Design Faculty

Royal College of Art, London, UK

The Webby Awards

Executive Academy Member IADAS

 

2016

The Webby Awards

Executive Academy Member IADAS

 

2015

The Webby Awards

Executive Academy Member IADAS

The Lovie Awards

Executive Academy Member IADAS

 

2014

The Webby Awards

Executive Academy Member IADAS

The Lovie Awards

Executive Academy Member IADAS

 

2002

The Global Awards

New York Festivals, US