For myself, I don’t define intelligence by IQ but by how someone approaches thinking, how they decipher, compose and articulate their thoughts, whether through words or visuals.
My role as a designer is to absorb, question, disrupt and facilitate a client’s vision into something visual. For me, creative intelligence is seeing the unseen and building a solid strategy around this.
A designer’s intelligence allows them to define in a few key words – from a multitude of client conversations and documentation – your brand personality and visual appearance. After all, in a saturated media landscape, it’s your point of view that sets you apart. This is what consumers notice, align with and create a connection to; your values, what you stand for and believe in.
I’m personally driven by people who challenge the norm and think well outside of the box. We are all individual – something we are constantly told through social media, blogs, TED talks and the like. Yet many businesses and brands still follow what is socially expected and operate in a comfort lane. Why? We have been gifted with an incomparable quality of uniqueness – so let’s not waste this opportunity.
As the current climate has bred uncertainty, we are seeing that it’s those who are brave, individual and intelligent (however you define this) who have clarity and stand out.
APAM (Australian Performing Arts Market) is a perfect example,always challenging itself to produce and curate compelling performances on local and global stages. There is an expectation in the arts for excellence, quality and diversity – all elements which allowed us at Seesaw to challenge ourselves through creative thinking.
I spoke with Catherine Jones, Director at APAM, about the concept of intelligence, and the role it plays in her industry.
Creative intelligence exists in many forms and is described in many ways. What does it mean to you?
I do think that creativity or creative intelligence is really crucial for how we’ll tackle the wicked problems of the modern world. Complex, gnarly problems like climate change, consumerism, inequity and resource sustainability need to be attacked differently. We need artists as the ‘experts’ in harnessing creativity to play a valued role alongside other intelligences and expertise, so we can rethink old ways of working and re-imagine new futures.
For me, creative intelligence is about how I approach my thinking, how I unpack, pull apart and reassemble my thoughts to create the most unique story for a brand.
I really love the brand Seesaw created for the evolution of APAM. It’s been just over a year since we launched the brand and it has really served our needs well. It has a lot of visual flexibility, which is what we need in different contexts. Our collaboration was really productive and enjoyable, and I think the brand reflects the strong creative process that Seesaw delivered.
As someone who works in a field of creativity, do you find there can be a battle with audiences to understand or accept creative ideas?
Good ideas and smart creative thinking will always find their audience. I think the battle is really how we value artists and creativity. In the way we commodify everything now artists and their practice has been put in the ‘nice-to-have’ but not ‘essential’ category. If the big disruptions we’ve already seen in 2020 have shown us anything, it’s that we look to artists and their creativity for solace, comfort and space for us to imagine different futures. I hope this means we’ll also start valuing this important role in wellbeing and recovery in a whole different way.
Do you ever feel you have to comprise on extreme creative thinking in order to make it more palatable or understandable by wider audiences?
Not necessarily. I think if there’s a strong alignment between the work or business and the audience you can really go anywhere together. The journey is important, and the sense that you’re taking it together. I think in the arts there’s a conservatism in the infrastructure that surrounds artists which is debilitating and actually muddies the relationship between the work and the audiences. Trust the artist and their creativity. Trust the audience.
At Seesaw, intelligence not only means producing highly creative work but also aligning with people who are open to exploring new avenues. Is this also beneficial in your field, where intelligent creative alignment yields stronger creative output?
Absolutely. Any change or momentum forward has to be a collaborative effort. Collaboration isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s made more enjoyable and productive when it’s a strong creative and values fit.
Find our more about APAM.