Three Things Great Creatives have in Common

Hint: it's all about the person behind the portfolio.

There are a few traits that tend to come standard issue with a good creative. A good art director, for example, has a keen eye for colour, knows their photoshop shortcuts like the back of their hand, or has the Golden Ratio embedded in their DNA. A good writer might have a killer vocab, a knack for finding le mot juste, or a mimic’s gift for taking on a brand voice. And both are students of human behaviour, forever curious about the world around them.

But what’s the difference between a good creative and a great creative? In our humble opinion, it’s about more than the work they create or the awards they win. It’s about the attitude they bring with them, and the environment they help create. Our very (un)scientific survey turned up these three key traits.


Our great Creatives on a Teams call.

Our great Creatives on a Teams call.


They think beyond their title

Don’t get us wrong –  we don’t expect creative folks to understand the intricacies of the budget as well as the accounts team, or see the emerging trends and behaviour in a data set like a good strategist.

But knowing what a $500k budget can buy, or why we’re reaching this particular target on Instagram as opposed to Twitter, can help guide your brainstorming – and maybe even lead to some unexpected insights. Because understanding the sandbox you’re playing in can help you decide what kind of castle to build.


They share their skills

It takes hard work, skill, and more than a little luck to break into this industry. And often, it takes someone on the inside opening the door just wide enough to get a foot in. How many of us wouldn’t be in this industry if that friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend hadn’t agreed to let us “pick their brain” over coffee?

Whether it’s mentoring the junior team, participating in book reviews, or meeting that friend’s roommate’s cousin for lunch, great creatives do what they can to help foster the next generation. Because more great creative minds means more great creative work.


They fight for the best idea – even when it’s not theirs

“I wish I’d thought of that.”

It’s one of the best compliments a creative can get. And one of the most meaningful they can give.

It’s recognizing that someone found an insight you hadn’t considered. Or written a headline in a way you know is perfect, but never would have occurred to you. It’s putting your ego aside, and learning from – and being inspired by – the people on your team. And sometimes, that means putting your own ideas aside. To be a great creative is to love great creative work, no matter where it came from. And it’s to fight for the best idea, even if it’s not your own.

At the end of the day, we believe great creative comes from great people – whether you’re a junior just cutting your chops, or an ECD making room for another Lion on your shelf. So when you’re building your team, or looking for a creative partner, make sure you take the time to get to know the person behind the portfolio.