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The Busy Creator Podcast with Prescott Perez-Fox - conversations on creative culture, workflow & productivity


The Busy Creator Podcast is a discussion program where creative professionals from across the spectrum share tools, techniques, and habits they use in their practice. Listeners are introduced to strategies and pro tips to be their most creative, productive selves.

Full website available at http://busycreator.com and http://busycreator.com/podcast/ for the show specifically.

Dec 30, 2016

Craig Ward (@MrCraigWard) is a designer, art director, typographic artist, and author currently living in Brooklyn, NY. A UK native, he came to New York in 2009 shortly after being selected as an ADC Young Gun.

As a solo act, Craig created projects for Adobe, Squarespace, Calvin Klein, Google, Nike, and host of other large brands across entertainment, fashion, media, and consumer products. Lately, he’s rejoined the agency world.

In this conversation, we discuss the culture clash between a large company and a solo practice, the economics behind design (large and small), and where agencies can still innovate in spite of their size.

Catch up with Craig on his personal website, Words Are Pictures.

Cover photo by Jonathan Pilkington.

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Show Notes & Links

  • Prescott and Craig have been pals for several years due to the NYC design scene
  • Joaquin Cotler, a guest on The Busy Creator episode 41 and composer of the theme music
  • Craig is ok being called a “designer & art director”; he’s also directed music videos and earn other titles by action
  • Solo practitioners are a “one-man army” due to their multiple facets
  • The US O-1B Visa, for people, like Craig, “who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement … and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements …” 
  • How a Bill Becomes Law

     

"Solo practice is very liberating, but brings its own problems."

—Craig Ward

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"When you work for someone else, you can spend almost 100% of time working on projects. For yourself, it’s maybe 50%."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"When freelance work became my full-time job I suddenly had free time."

—Craig Ward

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"I didn’t think at all about the financial aspects of solo work."

—Craig Ward

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"Big agencies are designed to spin wheels."

—Craig Ward

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"If you’re a creative person, you’re not supposed to be good at business stuff."

—Craig Ward

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  • Intellectual Overhead vs. Property Overhead: anxiety, distraction, etc. rather than dollars

"When you work solo the highs are higher, but the lows are lower."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"In so many ways it’s a holiday to have a team."

—Craig Ward

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"At a certain point, agencies stop being creative companies and start being corporations."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"Clients get the work they deserve."

—Denise O'Bleness

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"The answers are not found in the office."

—Craig Ward

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"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

—Seneca

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"The barrier to entry to experimenting is lower than ever."

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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"I worry that I’m spreading myself too thin, but I’d rather have a go than not."

—Craig Ward

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  • Extrude nodes, chamfered edges – jargon of 3D printing and modeling

"We ran out of stuff to talk about … so we had a kid."

—Craig Ward

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"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

—Pablo Picasso

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"There’s real beauty in an eclectic team."

—Craig Ward

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Tools

Techniques

  • Use your “free” time for other long-term projects, like writing a book
  • Keep “swiftness” in mind; build momentum at the start of projects
  • Take on an agent to help even out the workloads
  • Encourage your team to get out of the office and see things around the city
  • Create a job number for excursions so you can track it; give yourself a time-budget per month
  • Visualize your projects internally, and sketch when you have an idea in mind

Habits

  • Be a “restless creative”, always be making something
  • Aim for one fully-fledged, start-to-finish project in your portfolio per year
  • Allow for Unconventional Inspiration (one of The 9 Habits of Highly Creative People)
  • Build in separation between your home and work life; force a commute and specific hours