Article

John Horsley
John Horsley 12 October 2014

Laura Jordan-Bambach, Former President of D&AD on Inspiration, Creativity and Ideas




Laura Jordan Bambach – President D&AD, Co-founder of SheSays, Creative Partner at Mr. President: talks creativity, what inspires her and where ideas come from.

Need Inspiration? See Laura Jordan-Bambach and other fantastic speakers at Inspiration - Think Again at the Royal Geographical Society, London on the 23rd of October. 

 

Q - Please introduce yourself and let us know a little about what you do?

My name is Laura Jordan-Bambach. I am President of D&AD. I’m also a Creative Partner at Mr. President, which is an agency based in Soho in London. I’m a co-founder of SheSays and also co-founder of Cannt Festival.

Q - What inspires you? where does inspiration come from?

I had I guess a very unconventional start in the industry. I’d studied fine arts for quite a long time, actually I did a bachelor and master’s degree. All of my inspiration still comes from the places that I used to look to as an artist. So, music is a very big one. I spend a lot of time listening to music. I would say I’m sort of a bit of an obsessive fan, and I get a lot of inspiration from lyrics, like interesting sort of mixes of different sounds, and just the experiences of the artists and exploring more into them and their lives.

Similarly fine art, I get a lot of inspiration from. But probably where I get the most inspiration from is my day to day, trying to do something different day to day, so that every day, you know, you walk a different way to work, or you read something new, or you sort of go on a little bit of a wander on the internet, you see where it finds you and collect as much interesting stuff as possible. You know, you read a book or you listen to it, an interesting story. Or you meet an interesting person, and you have a conversation with them. And a lot of the inspiration that I get and the ideas that I get some from sort of connecting those things with other stuff that might be a bit more structured.

Q - What do you do when you’ve had an idea?

When I’ve had an idea, so I carry a book with me everywhere. A sketchbook, I write everything down in there, because even if it’s an idea that doesn’t feel like it comes to much, you can always sort of go back to it or use it as a basis for something else. So my sketchbook comes with me everywhere that I go. When I have an idea that feels like it’s a nub of something really exciting, you can kind of feel it, because you feel tingly. And there’s no other way to, to describe it. You kind of just know when something’s really exciting. You know, you can’t let go of it. You have to throw yourself into it, you have to work on it, and you, kind of feel compelled to start working on it. So that’s when you sort of know you’ve got something really great. If an idea that you have doesn’t grab you like  that, then you know, you know, you can get, you can have competent ideas that way, but they’re not going to be the ones that move you, the ones that move you are always the ones that end up being the best.

So once you’ve got something like that, it’s just a matter of like, you kind of you live and breathe it. So I’m working on something at the moment, and I’ve done so many iterations of it with one of the teams here, because I’m just absolutely determined that it has to work, and that means it has to be a brilliant idea, needs to address everything that the brand we’re working on needs to address. There can’t be any kind of room for manoeuvre. What it says has to be really crystal clear. All the different components have to be really exact, because to do really interesting new challenging ideas, means that you have to give the client a lot of confidence that you can deliver. And so, you know, working stuff up really really well is super important.

So as I was saying that, that you know, we’ve done rounds and rounds, and little bits fall into place and then we, as I was talking about inspiration, what inspires me, those little connections start to happen. I was reading something on the weekend, which ended up being the final piece of the puzzle in this idea, so we’ve just rewritten it again now and we’re going to take it back and work on it.

So as I was saying that, that you know, we’ve done rounds and rounds, and little bits fall into place and then we, as I was talking about inspiration, what inspires me, those little connections start to happen. I was reading something on the weekend, which ended up being the final piece of the puzzle in this idea, so we’ve just rewritten it again now and we’re going to take it back and work on it. So an example of that process I guess, is the work that we’ve done for Bacardi, a piece of work we did called Bat Beats.

Q - Can you please give an example of an idea you’ve had and how it became a reality?

Bat Beats started as an idea on a wall that we thought was really exciting about translating the movement of bats live into music for Bacardi. And it came from a brief that they’d given us about what we could do to use their brand element of the bat in more interesting ways and sort of behave untameable around their brand emblem. But it started off as a completely sort of different idea.

It started off much more technical. It started off sort of much bigger, then it moved into sort of an event we found you know, exploring where we could do this, and there was a really beautiful piece of kismet around one of the biggest migrations of bats about to be in Austin, Texas and the fact that South by Southwest was coming up, which is all about technology music which fitted Bacardi perfectly. So that kind of gave us a place. And then we had to kind of work around it to try to figure out what the scale of the idea was so we kind of had a thought, and then we had a location and a time. And then you know, is it going to be something huge? Are we going to have a massive DJ, you know, Dj’ing these bats live? Are we going to build a platform? Are we going to, or, you know at the other end of the scale, are we going to go really guerrilla with it and are we going to sort of explore what we can do under the radar? And then once we sort of decided on the scale, which was the latter, then we had to explore like how we we’re actually going to get the thing to happen. So how we do actually trap the bats, and more research into how the bats actually flock of an evening in Austin, and what software are we going to produce, and how mobile it was going to be, and once we kind of got the technology down, then it’s how are we going to amplify this? And then it’s who are we going to invite? How many nights are we going to run? How much come practice and rehearsal do we have to have? And what we’re going to do in all the other channels to spread it. So it’s a really long, I guess exploratory process, rather than here’s the idea, sign off please, we’re going to go and make it. And the brilliant thing about that is that you’re able to take the client on that journey and they’re able to collaborate with you. So you know their input into the creative process. Yeah. It’s how I like to work.

Need Inspiration? See Laura Jordan-Bambach and other fantastic speakers at Inspiration - Think Again at the Royal Geographical Society, London on the 23rd of October.

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