8:25 – Arrive at work. Fire up the coffee maker. Fire up the computer. In that order.
8:30 – I have exactly 13 min. before I have to be anywhere, so I check emails. Sort out what needs to be answered right away, what needs to be answered eventually and what needs to be filed away as spam. It’s amazing how many unsolicited emails I get to let me know about the “exciting new creative genius we are representing” or the “revolutionary software product” that will generate unlimited business leads.
8:43 – Attend our daily staff meeting, Jolt™. Start frantically sketching an idea that just hit me for a bank client project that I’ve been drawing a blank on for a day…
8:44 – …that inevitably turns into a doodle of a shark or a dinosaur.
8:56 – Answer a couple of post-Jolt™ questions. Ask a few of my own.
9:00 – Try to think of a way to shoehorn a shark into an ad about home equity lines of credit.
9:05 – Abandon the shark idea and go through my task list for the day, prioritizing what can be knocked out quickly and what’s going to take a while.
9:08 – Make the logo bigger.
9:10 – Decide if this is going to be a radio day or an iPod day. More often than not, it’s a radio day… we have great public radio here in Louisville.
9:11 – Scrap that “quick knockout” list to put out a fire that came running into the creative studio after a “post-Jolt™ Advertising Emergency” confab.
9:12 – Spend the next 5 min. trying to figure out what “make it pop more” means.
9:45 – Knock out a hand full of those quick jobs. Some easy changes, image swaps and…
10:45 – Make the logo bigger.
11:00 – First meeting of the day. Resist the urge to revisit the shark idea for this restaurant client.
11:45 – Knock out the deliverables that came from the previous meeting. Laugh to myself when I realize that the meeting took longer than the project.
12:13 – Make the logo bigger.
12:14 – Switch to the iPod.
12:15 – Throw lunch into the microwave and briefly wonder if three-martini lunches are worth working in client services. Remind myself that they aren’t, and then check personal email and browse my RSS feed to check out some graphic design and advertising websites while eating lunch at my desk.
1:00 – Realize I haven’t put anything on my time sheet yet and go back to fill in the last 3 hours.
1:05 – Finish up those “quick knockout” jobs that inevitably contain at least one “landmine” job that I didn’t see coming. It’s always the easy ones.
2:25 – Make the logo bigger.
2:35 – Run next door to knock out a quick tabletop photo. Having our own photo studio makes life easier, not just for us, but for our clients too.
3:10 – Walk back to the creative studio and immediately switch back to the radio, because I have 96 days worth of music in my library and right now none of it sounds good.
3:11 – Finally get to those “take a while jobs.” Try to sit in such a way that it doesn’t look like I’m staring off into space, waiting for inspiration to strike.
3:12 – Stare off into space, waiting for inspiration to strike.
3:15 – Give up on inspiration and resort to creative block tricks to get over the hump. Today it’s using a random word generator. While the random word doesn’t always deliver an answer, the exercise of trying to find a path from the word to the project will sometimes open up something else in my head.
3:16 – It gives me “smoke.” I’ve got nothing. Why couldn’t it have given me “shark?”
3:18 – Take a quick break to pet one of the dogs in the office.
3:20 – Decide to just start getting some things “down on paper.” Sometimes that helps.
4:29 – Not sure if that helped. Hopefully when I open it tomorrow, I’ll like what I see more than I like it today.
4:30 – Get to those “eventually” emails and go over what’s on my calendar/task list for tomorrow.
4:40 – Take a look at the creative brief/research that the client service folks have compiled for one of the projects on my radar for tomorrow.
5:12 – Make the logo bigger.
5:15 – Nobody has come into the creative studio with their hair on fire this afternoon, so I’m out of here at a reasonable hour.
6:25 – Meet my wife for dinner. Spend 5 min. silently criticizing all the printed collateral in the restaurant and another 5 min. explaining to my wife why I’m not hungry because of the choices an art director made.
6:35 – She’s not amused. And she IS hungry.
8:00 – Settle in for an evening of two-screen media consumption, including catching up on social media and work/personal emails.
10:30 – Scribble down a few thoughts for tomorrow’s projects on my iPad.
11:00 – Bed.
11:45 – Idea for today’s project! Grab my phone and jot down a couple of notes. Man, I hope these make sense tomorrow.
11:50 – Back to bed, to dream about making logos smaller.
In advertising, pretty much everyone has been influenced by someone else. As we’ve been bringing you stories about ad legends like Bill Bernbach and George