Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A lesson.

Years and years ago, when my older daughter was enrolled in her expensive Manhattan pre-school, there was a get-together, a question-and-answer session for the parents with the wonderful woman who ran the school.

One parent stood up and said bluntly, "Before my kid got here, her art work sucked. After she left here her art work sucked. But while she was here it was great. What's your secret? What do you do?"

The head mistress said simply "We know when to take the paper away."

Too many agencies and clients don't know when to "take the paper away."

Work is shown. A reaction is gotten. And then...

Pick.
Pick.
Pick.
Pick.

Soon all the edges are smoothed. All the soul is eviscerated. All the laughter becomes polite.

It becomes a snooze.

Take the paper away.
Before it's too late.

6 comments:

Ruby Rosamund said...

I swear everyone had great art teachers except me. I was on a life drawing class, I had gone one step too far, and tried to put the page down and start again. Oh No! said the teacher. Keep going, it can still be reworked into something good. I tried. Every new mark was just another lump of dog sick on the page. Eventually they conceded I should have started again when I wanted to...

Pretty much a philosophy for life, don't over-do it. But it takes a while to learn HOW to 'take the paper away' at the best time.

Anonymous said...

I went to art school. My art teachers were so good I became a copywriter.

bob hoffman said...

Bingo. One of the things most creative people never learn is that after a client says, "I like it," take the fucking layout down and shut the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

This is a good lesson for creative directors. How many ads have been fucked up by creative directors who don't know when to leave a good idea alone?

Kolschey said...

Brilliant. As an art teacher myself, this is definitely something I can affirm. It's about knowing when to stop adding color, texture, detail, or extraneous information.

Just because you have 108 colored pencils and eight grades of fine tip pen, that doesn't mean you need to use all of them in one piece.

Spot on.

12XU said...

communispace testing of spots doesn't count as picking, right?