By Joe Fraser
Master the Four Elements
Long ago, the four elements lived in harmony alongside each other. Fire (strategy), Earth (planning), Air (copywriting) and Water (art direction). It was only until killer creatives came together and realised that this could no longer be. No one thought it could be done, no one could possibly master all four elements. But these people were wrong. It was the only way to truly make something exceptional. Therefore, a supernatural level would have to be achieved. Some people say god, others say Avatar. Regardless of your denomination, it is important to know the four elements if one is to be an Avatar.
Strategy (Fire) is the element of power. The creatives that can use strategy properly to exercise their ideas will succeed and have those ideas fully realised. Good creative Strategists have desire and will, and the energy and drive to achieve what they want. They use the energy around them to execute and deliver what they see to be the best results of a campaign and/or idea. They can be uncompromising and their rage can be out of control and dangerous. But with practice they can learn to control their fiery urges and deliver a hot idea.
Planning (Earth) is the element of substance. The people of Planning are diverse and strong. A Planner may tell you that your insight is unnecessary and won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Another will live and die by the insight. It’s… it’s actually pretty confusing now I think about it. Nevertheless, this is how the Planners are, they are persistent and enduring. You may challenge them on a brief but be prepared to have that criticism thrown back at you. They can endure bitter and extensive statistics and harsh spreadsheets to bring forward a fully formed brief but rest assured, their strength will not let it falter. While a creative may not be a Planner in a literal sense, only by mastering Planning, can a creative achieve the desired Avatar State.
Copywriting (Air) is the element of freedom. Copywriters detach themselves from worldly concerns. They are not bound the limitations of a page or other things such as grammar or real words. Language is malleable. They can play with it like Patrick Swayze with clay in Ghost. Their type can be large, small or non-existent, it does not matter to copywriters. They think with an emotional but sometimes logical mind, and that balance allows them to find peace and freedom within their craft. Also, they apparently have a great sense of humour.
Art Direction (Water) is the element of change. The people of Art Direction are capable of adapting to many things. This could be 48 sheets, 6 sheets, web banners, DM, experiential, tube posters – any kind of shape or form that the medium happens to be in, an Art Director can flow into. Art Directors work the longest and hardest on the appearance of an ad, spending hours to perfect their craft through the various Adobe programs. Because of this, they have developed a deep sense of community and love that holds them together through anything. Be it a program crashing or tips on how to animate some text.
It is important to draw wisdom from many different places. If you take it from only one place, it becomes rigid and stale. It is the combination of these four elements in one creative person that makes the Avatar so powerful. Thus, a creative can be the most powerful person in an agency, if only they use these powers wisely and master them correctly. Only then can you become godlike in your creativity.