Personal Practice (PP): The Idea Assassin

By Uduak Akpan

Personal Projects or Private Practice aka PP is a cookie jar a lot of Art directors can’t seem to keep their hands away from. The adrenaline that rushes through your veins when you get that call from “Your Client”, the full control you have over the execution stages of the project and the sweet sound of the credit alert as it hits your phone all contribute to making it one hell of a cookie jar that the creative artist can’t seem to keep their hand off of. I mean, it pays to be free right. To not have any brand management personnel or client service executive spew the “client needs this ASAP!” fire and brimstone down your throat. Then the money comes rolling in and we’re off to the mall, stores or where ever our fetishes are sold to pick up those elements we been longing for. Feels good doesn’t it? Indeed it does.

But as sweet as these cookies may seem, it can also become a pitfall into a place of lasting darkness where the light of bright spark ideas can hardly be seen. How? Well, as an art director or a creative in an ad agency, Personal practices can constitute a menace to your innate ability to generate new ground breaking ideas. Let’s break it down a little more shall we.

You see, Ideas are like waves that move in the air. Think radio waves. Well, ideas are kinda like that too. They exist in open spaces waiting for which ever or in this case, whoever’s antenna and frequency is tuned in. More often than not, when you as an art director are deeply engrossed in your own personal projects, chances are that you will most likely tune off your receivers in a bid to focus because you have a million briefs from two or more different worlds, coming at you at the same time. You’re getting calls from within your ad agency, you’re getting calls from without your agency and more often than not, it’s a ton to deal with. Then when you’re finally done with either of the lot, you’re exhausted. This is usually the point where we go out to spend some of that hard earned money on the things we like, in a bid to fill up the void that comes with expending so much creative juices.

Now, some people may come with the argument to say, “YOU GET TO EXECUTE IDEAS AND CONCEPTS YOU NEVER GET THE CHANCE TO PULL OFF, WITH OFFICIAL CLIENTS”. While that is a true statement, to some extent, consider your role within the agency as an Ideas machine. For more often than not, it’s the work you create within and for the agency you are employed to that you can talk about and the personal projects you create, you cannot really speak of. It must be kept under hush, for fear of the bosses finding out and you getting into trouble. Which begs the question, “Who e epp?” Maybe your pocket but being a creative myself, I have paid attention and come to realize the joy that overwhelms you when you’re driving by a billboard, lamp post ad, poster, online or social media poster or even a print ad that you created or that has your name attached to it. It’s a feeling really cannot be quantified in Naira and kobo values and let’s not forget, these are the works you can enter for awards.

So I think it’s safe to say that PP can be exhausting most times than they can be rewarding. Maybe our approach should be to see how we can market our brilliant ideas to these stiff necked clients. A little lube can go a long way and put you in a position where the client actually respects the work you do and sometimes, can’t live without you working on their brand because they see light in you. So at this juncture, it would be wise to develop your brand as an artist or crafts person and know your onions to the detail so that when tempting waters come your way, you can calm the storm and express true professionalism in the delivery of your works. Remember, your value lies in the quality of work you put out and how you are able to sell it to keep the ROI in great shape. Your chances of achieving this are easier when you shed off some unnecessary PP weight. Don’t let PP relegate you to the “Not so creative zone”

Keep your focus, generate new life changing ideas that solve real human problem, never compromise on the standard of your work and take some free time off to study, research, travel, enjoy new experiences, learn something new or just sleep and rest your brain.
And to the employers, pay your artists well enough so they don’t share your time with another woman.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *