Playmobil Interview…! Second degré.

Ok. Now you will have an idea what French call the “Second degré“…

Made this crazy video, made the music and “lyrics”, part with my iPhone and also the Mac (of course).

What is the idea?
Errr… Well, let’s say the non-communication between creative candidates and the world of HR. I think, sometimes, they are on different planets each of them. Like Aliens.

Who are you? Graphic designer? Creative director? Artistic director? What does this mean? What is your job exactly? What do You Want??

2009 HUDSON reports

These are the latest reports from HUDSON about Hiring, HR trends in Asia; salary in advertising and communications fields.

I’ve made a special ISSUU about it. But To view directly The Hudson Report results and analysis, please click here.


The Hudson Report Quarter Four, 2009

Hiring expectations continue to rise at an accelerating rate. Overall, expectations are higher than they were a year ago and it now seems that the ‘green shoots’ are here to stay.

Mark Carriban, Managing Director – Asia

Highlights include:

  • Hiring expectations are rising sharply and this survey of nearly 500 executives across key business sectors shows that 35% forecast headcount growth in Quarter Four (Q4) 2009, up from 22% in Q3;
  • Hiring expectations are rising faster in Hong Kong than in the other markets surveyed in Asia;
  • Across all the sectors surveyed, respondents say that talent development and improving staff retention are their key HR priorities for 2010;
  • One-third of respondents say they would employ someone who has been out of work for more than a year;
  • Where employers are prepared to hire the long-term unemployed, previous experience and track record are given as the principal reasons;
  • Respondents in the Consumer, IT&T and Manufacturing & Industrial sectors are more confident about finding local talent for senior positions than those in Banking & Financial Services, Legal and Media/PR/Advertising.

Mark Carriban
Managing Director, Asia

What is creativity?

You want a “creative” person for your company; that is a clever point.

But… What for? Exactly? And, do you know what makes the difference between TWO creative?

| First, you (we) need to agree on what is creativity |

What is creativity?

First let’s take a look on the WIKIPEDIA definition.

Creativity (or creativeness) is a mental process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts. From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought (sometimes referred to as divergent thought) are usually considered to have both originality and appropriateness. An alternative, more everyday conception of creativity is that it is simply the act of making something new. Although intuitively a simple phenomenon, it is in fact quite complex. It has been studied from the perspectives of behavioural psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, history, economics, design research, business, and management, among others. The studies have covered everyday creativity, exceptional creativity and even artificial creativity. Unlike many phenomena in science, there is no single, authoritative perspective or definition of creativity. Unlike many phenomena in psychology, there is no standardized measurement technique.

Creativity has been attributed variously to divine intervention, cognitive processes, the socialpersonality traits, and chance (”accident,” “serendipity“). It has been associated with genius, mental illness and humour. Some say it is a trait we are born with; others say it can be taught with the application of simple techniques. Although popularly associated with art and literature, it is also an essential part of innovation and invention and is important in professions such as business, economics, architecture, industrial design, science and engineering. environment,

Despite, or perhaps because of, the ambiguity and multi-dimensional nature of creativity, entire industries have been spawned from the pursuit of creative ideas and the development of creativity techniques. This mysterious phenomenon, though undeniably important and constantly visible, seems to lie tantalizingly beyond the grasp of scientific investigation.

“Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know.”

George Kneller

For our concern, we are talking about creativity (and being creative) in Advertising, Communications, Marketing and Design services.

So what is [a creative] in these topics?

As a Creative Director in-house, the purpose is to ensure the highest possible success of projects in supporting the company’s objectives. To ensure the highest possible success of projects by developing and presenting proposals, liaising with Clients, managing project work flow, supporting design team quality and efficiency, and solving problems.

Fiat Lux

The main Responsibilities:

  • Ensures optimal client fulfillment by developing and defining client vision and business needs into project proposals; collaborating with Sales Team to close sales; presenting proposals, progress and final project deliverables; establishing and maintaining effective creative liaison with clients, managing client expectations, cultivating trust, rapport and proactive client care throughout the project cycle
  • Maintains work flow by monitoring project progress and resource usage; assisting in troubleshooting “log jams”; facilitating change orders; collaborating with the Office Manager to schedule facility use; ensuring early meeting of milestones and deadlines
  • Resolves and Prevents Problems by immediately analyzing and soothing any client concerns and implementing remedial solutions; conferring regularly with Sales Department and Design Team to discuss, understand and address any sources of stress; carefully observing and checking in with clients to intuit and discover even the smallest source of dissatisfaction they may feel and taking corrective action
  • Ensures information utilization standards by ensuring accurate and timely input of all ISIS data including activity slips, project status, project specifications, quotes and estimates; and following file management procedures
  • Ensures project quality by working collaboratively with Management Team to assign project resources, support and assist in training of Designers and Artists, monitoring project quality and profitability; communicating and exemplifying organization standards
  • Ensures availability of project resources by adhering to resource rules and procedures; working collaboratively with other managers to optimize utilization of resources; alerting Management Team to any resource problems
  • Ensures team effectiveness by assisting in the training of new Multimedia Artists, monitoring productivity, cultivating team rapport, anticipating needs, proactively assisting, providing constructive feedback and guidance to Multimedia Artists; performing in the capacity of a Multimedia Artist when necessary; creating and implementing ideas that support team members’ ability to maximize client satisfaction
  • Improves company profitability by creatively assisting management team in identifying new potential product or service offerings, working closely with management and Sales Team to understand and meet sales objectives, and identifying and implementing strategies for improving general efficiency and effectiveness of the Media and Technology department
  • Maintains professional and technical knowledge by participating in personal and professional development opportunities; reviewing professional publications; benchmarking best practices; participating in professional society
  • Enhances the work environment by dealing openly and directly with team members; acting with integrity and respect; exhibiting a positive attitude

There is an excellent article from HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW ONPOINT, talking about creativity:

(by Thomas H. Davenport, Laurence Prusak, and H.James Wilson)

[Who’s bringing you hot ideas and HOW are you responding?]

“There’s an UNSUNG HERO in your organization. It’s the person who’s bringing in new ideas about how to manage better. Mind you, we’re not talking about product and service innovations. The people who cook those up-and they are heroes of the orgnization, too-are celebrated loudly and often. We’re talking about the person who. for instance, first uttered the phrase “intellectual capital“in your hallways, believing that better management of knowledge assets could yield a competitive advantage. Or perhaps it was the notion of “real options” as an antidote to overly risk-averse capital investment analysis. Or, depending on how long the person has been around, maybe it was even “total quality management”.

Exactly who are these people in your particular organisation? You probably already know.

  • It’s the middle manager you called when you decided to include something about process redesign or balanced-scorecard management in your letter for the annual report.
  • It’s the smart executive who advised you on which consulting firm to employ for help with e-commerce and who seemed to know all about each one’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • It’s the first person who comes to mind when you need a strategic thinker to do a special project.

Come to think of it, it’s that manager who just sent you a conference binder on a topic you’ve expressed some interest in.”

Here are some extracts (so true…) of the Harvard Business Review (spring 2007): The Creative Company

{ We’ve got one creative person here, and he makes everyone nervous. }

{ Creativity can’t be shoehorned between the hours of nine and five. The Muses don’t always show up on time for appointments. }

{ Again, creating such teams requires managers to have a deep understanding of their people. They must be able to assess them not just for their knowledge but for their attitudes about potential fellow team members and the collaborative process, for their problem-solving styles, and for their motivational hot buttons. Putting together with just the right chemistry – just the right level of diversity and supportiveness – can be difficult, but our research shows how powerful it can be. }

{ Supervisory encouragement. Most managers are extremely busy. They are under pressure for results. It is therefore easy for them to let praise for creative efforts – not just creative successes but unsuccessful efforts, too – fall by the wayside. One very simple step managers can take to foster creativity is to not let that happen. }

{ The connection to intrinsic motivation here is clear. Certainly, people can find their work interesting or exciting without a cheering section – for some period of time. But to sustain such passion, most people need to feel as if their work matters to the organisation or to some important group of people. Otherwise, they might as well do their work at home or for their own personal gain. }

{ By contrast, managers who kill creativity do so by either failing to acknowledge innovative efforts or by greeting them with skepticism. In many companies, for instance, new ideas are made not with open minds but with time consuming layers of evaluation – or even with harsh criticism. When someone suggests a new product or process, senior managers take weeks to respond. Or they put that person through an excruciating critique. }

You should prepare a nice nest for “your creative”.

He/She won’t be like others, only concerned by themselves, no, he/she will take part at 200% in your project and be happy when you will win a budget, sad when you will loose a competition. Sensible or sensitive? Concerned. Without that, no creativity is possible.
You should let “himher” take more leave days than others; “heshe” works with” herhis” brain, don’t forget. Heshe must be happy to create, in a GOOD atmosphere to create.

Generally, creative are not good in money or account, they prefer to dream or to find crazy ideas than talk about reality. Reality is boring, sublimating, rejuvenating is their job.

They see things that you even don’t know it exists. In one word you say, they will see a new campaign, a new product. In full color, they will see a new concept; so, please, prepare a nice nest for them, they will be more fragile than others; don’t forget, they live in an other planet than you, this is why they are… Creative.
When I have to recruit a creative in my team, I’m choosing the one who seems to be more “concerned“, the one who will say “us” instead of “me“, the one will think all the time “what is the best to do for my company? How should I have acted if it was mine?
Concerned. Proactive. Humble, always searching for the latest trends, someone with a “global culture”, could talk about surf, business, luxury trends, architecture, opera, video, cinema, sociology…

Someone definitely open mind.

Dear recruiters, I think there is a (slight) misunderstanding…

Dear recruiter, headhunter, HR,

I’d like you to help me to understand how you work…

  • …as I don’t understand:  why, despite companies and clients say I’m very creative, I can’t manage to have any appointments in your offices and meet any clients?

  • Why when I finally got one that it’s only “one shot”? (means I was enough good for ONE company but not for any others?)
    Why sometimes the recruiter interviewing me doesn’t understand what exactly my job is? (“oh you are a multimedia designer?”)
  • I have some questions to ask you and it will be great if you could answer!

Please download and see the file here: PDF file .

Because, WE, candidates, (just) want to understand…


Talent isn't everything


by Chanpory Rith on 2007/04/09 |

Here’s a common myth: To be a successful creative professional, all you need is talent. It’s a nice myth to believe in. “Talent” suggests a divine or evolutionary genetic gift, so if you’re blessed with the talent gene, you’re special and can be a cool creative person. If not, you’re destined to be an accountant.

”… this myth of talent has very little to do with the success of a designer.”

After working three years at MetaDesign and since starting my new position at Dubberly Design Office, I’ve noticed this myth of talent has very little to do with the success of a junior designer. Instead, I have found that those who survive and last more than six months practice these seven habits:

1. Work quickly. Produce a lot.

2. Attend to details.

3. Be versatile.

4. Make an effort to learn.

5. Anticipate problems.

6. Set goals.

7. Display a positive attitude.

1. Work quickly. Produce a lot.

In a design studio with large collaborative projects, time is money. Being fast is critical to your survival. The studio relies on your speed in two areas: Idea generation and production.

Idea generation

Being a junior designer often means your final work won’t be polished. Fortunately, design is not just about quality. It’s also about ideas and concepts. The more ideas you generate quickly, the more value you bring to the studio. Having many unrevised ideas, as opposed to one perfect concept, helps your creative director and design team to:

  • Envision the solution space, the set of possible solutions, for the project.
  • Evaluate what’s conservative, feasible, or ridiculous.
  • Create a pool of alternatives to choose from in case a client rejects the team’s initial recommendations.
  • Invite early client participation, by having more options to show and discuss.

Ideas shouldn’t remain in your head; you need to find ways to express them. Some ways to show ideas include brainstorming via outlines, concept maps, mood boards, and sketches. Also useful is rapid prototyping, the iterative process of creating rough and imperfect proof of concepts. Here are some ways you can present your ideas.

Outlines are lists organized hierarchically, much like the lecture notes you took in school. They’re a quick and familiar way to organize initial ideas without worrying about what the final design looks like.

Concept maps show relationships between concepts in the form of nodes and links. Each node represents an idea; each link represents a relationship. Both should be labeled. Their advantage is the ability to show one-to-many and many-to-many relationships.

Mood boards are collages that combine images, colors, and words to capture the general feeling of what a product or service might evoke. They’re useful for discussing general conceptual approaches without getting bogged down in details such as layout and typography. For examples of mood boards in all shapes and sizes, check out Flickr’s Inspiration Boards Pool

Sketches are drawings that approximations what a design might look like. They can be rough or detailed.

When generating ideas, keep in mind that in the early phases of a project, you should first try to generate a lot of ideas instead of having a few perfectly defined.

Second, you should create distinct ideas rather than variations or permutations of the same idea. (I still have a hard time with this one.)

Finally, don’t be afraid of dumb ideas.


Even if your ideas don’t work out, you can help refine, improve, and implement the ideas of others on your team. Production—the execution stage of a design process—is a vital skill for every designer. This means you need to be well-versed in the most commonly-used software applications and prototyping methods in your studio. You don’t need to know them like the back of your hand; you just need to know enough to meet the possible demands of the studio. To become more proficient:

  • Seek help by asking another designer how to do something.
  • Search online for answers. Google, message boards, blogs, and wikis are your best friends.
  • Keep updated on product announcements, tutorials, and updates.
  • Try-out and adopt new software.
  • Practice your skills by experimenting on side projects, such as personal websites and designing for your friends and family.
  • Read sites like this one for tips and tricks.
  • Take classes on new or unfamiliar technologies. Your employer may even sponsor you.

Most major applications now come with a set of tutorials that demonstrate old and new features. As a daily or weekly exercise, choose and complete one tutorial on an unfamiliar part of the application.

2. Attend to details

Successful junior designers take great care in preparing files for others to use. They pay attention to pixels and picas, check spelling, remove unneeded files, and strive to make it easier for someone else to understand their work. Nothing will annoy your supervisor or creative director more than having to clean up sloppy work. Some tips:

In programs with layers, such as Photoshop and InDesign, name and order your layers with a logical naming convention. Delete any layers and ruler guides that are unnecessary.

Keep files managed with clear naming conventions and a logical hierarchy of folders. This makes it easier for your boss and other coworkers to find a file later.

If you have linked or placed images in a file, make sure they work when you package them for your creative director to review. Linked images should also be named according to a logical naming convention.

Make it easy for your manager to give you feedback by making a list of specific questions you need answered to take the project to the next step.

3. Be versatile

Versatile and flexible designers can weather the economic ups and downs of a design studio because they can be staffed to more types of projects. A sure-fire way to shoot yourself in the foot is saying “I don’t do web” or “I don’t do print.” You’ll be seen as a diva and won’t last long.

Effective designers instead say “I don’t know how yet, but I want to learn how to do it.” Eventually, you’ll learn new skills and—more importantly—ways to adapt these skills to new demands. Being well-rounded also gives you a wider range of experiences and skills to draw from when designing. This means more variety when generating ideas and a better understanding of how different disciplines can work together.

Hugh Dubberly, a design planner and educator, shared this anecdote:

“Herman Zapf, famous type designer, tells a story of his first job. He interviewed with a printer who asked if he knew how to use a process camera. Zapf said yes. He got the job and went straight to the library to read up on how to do it.”

Unlike what Zapf would say, I still hear many designers proclaim, “I don’t want to design websites. It’s too technical.” These designers close themselves off to the possibility of learning and growth as well as the reality of technology’s prevalence.

With the ubiquity of technology and the Internet, it’s impossible to avoid getting technical. I encourage every designer, whether print-based or software/web-based, to have some understanding of:

  • Basic programming concepts (functions, loops, conditionals, and variables)
  • Web development (XML, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, PHP/MySQL, Flash)
  • Social networking and collaborative authoring (blogs, wikis, message boards, MySpace)
  • Cybernetics (study of systems, goals, and feedback)
  • Search and search engine optimization (metadata, tags, page rank, contextual advertising, personalized search)
  • Version control and content management

4. Make an effort to learn

To be versatile, you must learn new skills all the time. Effective and successful designers are lifelong learners. They are curious, enthusiastic, and passionate about design and want to learn more. This passion translates to better job satisfaction and productivity. They also:

  • Seek out mentors, perhaps a teacher, manager, or industry expert they admire.
  • Choose jobs based on those that let them learn the most. When you’ve stopped learning, it’s probably time to leave.
  • Have projects outside of work (such as cute productivity blogs).
  • Participate in the design communities by attending lectures and other events.
  • Keep up with technology and become an early adopter.
  • Read books on unfamiliar topics.
  • Write about what they’ve learned and share it with others. It helps organize their thoughts.

5. Anticipate problems

Junior designers can make themselves indispensable by recognizing and anticipating potential problems for their managers. For example, you can:

  • Point out potential production issues that might delay the project.
  • Accurately estimate the amount of time you need to a task. Junior designers are notorious for underestimating the time it takes to do something, so give yourself some padding for anything that might go wrong.
  • If you need more time to do a task, tell your managers at least 24 hours ahead, so they can rearrange the schedule.
  • Alert managers when work falls out of the project scope.

6. Set goals

To be an effective designer, you must set goals for yourself. These goals can be skills you want to learn, responsibilities you want to have, and types of projects you want to work on.

Knowing and articulating these goals is especially important during performance reviews. Reviews should be more than just about discussing your past performance; use them as an opportunity to present your goals. This shows that you want to grow. It also allows both you and your manager to agree on a plan for achieving your goals.

For more about goals, check out Erin Malone’s article on the five-year-plan.

7. Display a positive attitude

Companies change. One day, your company is the leading design studio for non-profit corporate identities. The next day, it decides to specialize in websites for luxury European cars. As company vision shifts, so can the staff, location, and other resources. Amidst change and uncertainty, it’s important to remain positive. Nobody likes a grump.

Here are some ways to show a positive attitude:

  • No matter how junior you are, mentor others by sharing information you’ve learned.
  • Identify problems in the studio and find ways to make them go away.
  • Ask what you can do to help.
  • Avoid gossip and talking ill of fellow coworkers, clients, and competing studios.


Certainly, these habits apply to other fields as well as design. They also may be obvious to some. Nonetheless, it’s important to restate and articulate what we often forget. For junior designers who want to eventually become senior designers and managers, it’s vital to avoid believing that success depends on talent alone.

Success for a designer depends on how much value he or she brings to an employer or client. Quality and talent can be part of this value, but success requires more than that. Designers also bring value through speed, versatility, foresight, and other qualities that have little to do with talent. Talent, if it exists, is only a small part of success.

(Special thanks to Hugh Dubberly for his feedback on an earlier draft of this article.)

Recommended reading:

Learning How to Learn, by Joseph D. Novak and D. Bob Gowin

The Now Habit, by Neil Fiore

The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

NOTE: This article is based an earlier blog post on LifeClever, published July 12, 2006.