The whole agency set off in bright t-shirts last Friday for our annual walk in memory of the lovely Cheryl Rogers. One of our GADs and long serving W+Ker, Cheryl played a huge part in agency culture and we miss her terribly since she passed away from cancer in January last year.
Every year we take a Friday afternoon to get out of the agency, get to know each other a bit better, drink some pints and take a stroll round the east end where Cheryl lived. Something she would have loved doing. We were touched to be joined this year by Cheryl's dad, step-mum and some family friends; some of whom made the journey all the way from New Zealand to be with us. The sun shone, we got a bit drunk, we had fun. It felt like Cheryl was smiling with us every step of the way.
It was the second time we've walked for Cheryl and once again we did it to raise some funds for St Joseph's hospice. They are a truly special organisation who took brilliant care of Cheryl in her final days. Every year they help look after over 1,500 patients as well as offering much needed support to family, friends and the wider community surrounding the hospice. The work they do there is humbling and we're so pleased to be able to do something practical to help build awareness of it and generate donations to help fund it.
Big thanks to everyone who walked, everyone who has donated and the Approach, Crate Brewery, The Peoples Tavern, Royal Inn on the the Park, the Pub on the Park and of course the Golden Heart who looked after us brilliantly and were kind enough to act as collection points; letting us put posters up and collection tins on the bars. It was a brilliant day Being More Cheryl.
Neil Christie, Managing Director at Wieden + Kennedy London, talks to Creativepool about management, advertising, pitching to new clients and how to apply for jobs.
(For the purposes of the format - interview in a black cab - we pretended that we were on our way to some high-powered meeting. But in fact, I had a morning in the office that day, so the cab just picked me up from W+K, drove around Shoreditch for a bit, and then dropped me off back at W+K.)
Each year, Fast Company magazine puts together its list of 100 Most Creative People in Business. This year, we were absolutely delighted to hear that W+K creative director and all-round exemplary Aussie bloke Scott Dungate made the cut, for "steering advertising in a new interactive direction" with our Honda 'The Other Side' campaign. Not only that, but he seems to be the only creative individual from an ad agency on the list.
Scott was interviewed by Fast Co about what inspires him, his morning routine and what he does to shake himself out of a creative rut. Check it out here, and then dive in to the full list on Fast Company here.
At this month's agency meeting we were joined by some of the guys from St Joseph's Hospice in Hackney.
St Joseph's is a very special place for Wieden+Kennedy as last year our dear friend and colleague Cheryl Rogers passed away there. Cheryl was an amazing member of the W+K family and we still feel her loss every day. We were so moved and impressed by the work that St Joseph's carries out for people like Cheryl that we asked the team to come in and tell us a bit more about it
Here's Anita talking about the incredible work they do.
Last year we did a sponsored walk in memory of Cheryl and had an absolutely brilliant afternoon exploring our neighbourhood, celebrating Cheryl's spirit and getting some fresh air.
Most importantly, we managed to raise some money for St Joseph's through the kindness of our friends and family, who sponsored our walk.
We'll be doing a 12km walk again in a couple of weeks and we're once again raising money to help St Joseph's Hospice continue doing the fantastic work they do.
The dedication and care St Joseph's provides costs. A fan, to keep a patient comfortable in hot weather costs £1.84 a day, a box of syringes costs £15.29, a physio to help a patient manage their breathing and pain is £31.57 a session. Which means each day, it costs £41,000 to keep St Joseph’s going. Which means a whopping £15 million a year, half of which needs to be funded through donations. An awful lot of money for a charity to raise to keep such vital work going. All donations are welcome and no amount is too small!
This week, W+K designer Michael Bow popped down to Pick Me Up at Somerset House. He reported back with his thoughts on the event and the visual trends emerging from the industry in 2015.
Now in its sixth year, Pick Me Up, billed as a “Graphics Arts Festival” houses a range of work from new and established illustrators, designers, illustrative designers, and everything in between. It’s a pretty good way to gauge what’s trendy in the market that year.
Working at any agency like W+K, it’s important to keep an ear to the ground and know what’s going on; sometimes emerging styles influence our practice, and sometimes we actively go against what’s expected in current visual communications.
Despite the fact that the event is meant to support and showcase up-and-coming creatives, there has been a lot of criticism aimed at Pick Me Up over the past few years. The entry fee still seems hefty considering that you are bombarded with price tags and pay points (and a pop-up café?) from the minute you walk in, but the work is now increasingly presented in a more refined and digestible manner.
Previous years had resembled some sort of doodle-filled TK Maxx, but this year, the show has a nice pace to it, and each individual station is distinctive and well constructed. I would also highly recommend arriving early if possible, to avoid throngs of disapproving designers.
The show this year has a heavy focus on print specialists. Peckham Print Studio, Sope Studio, and Hato Press are all operating live printing stations for people to not only learn about, but create and buy their own specialist prints on site. We caught up with graphic artist, and my fellow Glasgow School of Art graduate, Gabriella Marcella, who was amongst other things showcasing her Glasgow-based riso print studio Risotto.
Alongside the talent showcase, Pick Me Up is now also home to an impressive programme of events in a new presentation area billed as Pick Me Up Platform, all available with free entry. So if there is someone you are particularly interested in, you may be able to see them speak in the flesh too. The impressive headline slot on Thursday is occupied by The Designers Republic’s Ian Anderson, Secret 7”‘s Kevin King, and some DJ sets(?!).
Rightly or wrongly, it feels as though there is less focus on concept and communication when designers and illustrators are left to play. Coming from a position and industry where design and Illustration is very much a commercial venture, and should be used as a tool for clear communication, I feel that a lot of the efforts in the work supported at the event are sometimes a little misplaced, along with the emerging area between graphic design and art.
However, this is a celebration of personal creative freedom, and I was personally drawn to the pieces which display a consistent, interesting and fun use of style. The show’s highlight, aptly titled ‘Pick Me Up Selects’, showcases 12 emerging artists selected by a panel of industry experts. I particularly loved the fantasy comic book/8-bit world seen in Peter Judson’s display. Other highpoints are Jack Cunningham’s Jurassic models, Gaurab Thakali’s jazzy prints and Hattie Newman’s amazing paper-cut micro-sets.
There are lots of amusing things to glance at and flick through as you wander through the different rooms. Other parts of the show I especially enjoyed were the prints by Italian studio La Tigre, and the displays set up by London’s animation collective Moth. Lazy Oaf also have a striking room featuring the results from their FUN project, in which they collaborated with a range of illustrious including Alexander Medel Calderón.
We recently ran the second of our Forever Curious 'My Creative Story' workshops at Chats Palace in Clapton with a brilliant bunch of kids from Millfields Community School. The W+K adults (or rather, big kids) in the group had just as much fun as the kids did. It was an absolutely wonderful day, and we loved getting stuck into some hands-on storytelling; we came away totally awe-struck and inspired by the kids and we can't wait to do it again.
One of the Millfields children we had the pleasure of spending the day with wrote us an account of her experience. Take it away, Ivy...
I came to a big room with a big circle of about thirty or forty adults. We were told to write three words to explain what we felt like. Some people wrote things like brave, curious, excited and scared. Then we had to walk around and pretend to be strange things like giants and witches. Then we found a buddy, who was an adult. Me and my partner had to choose between painting inside out characters, acting our stories out, making dens and puppets. We chose to build dens. We made a lovely den out of two pink pieces of material and told stories in our dens. I then made some puppets from the story I made up earlier, and me and my buddy put on a show.
I worked with a lady called Amy and she was very nice. We did everything together and she let me choose what to do. I felt very happy that we worked well in a team. It was a great experience and I'd love to do it again.
It made me feel a mixture of different things like curious, excited and brave. I liked it because it's like when you're reading a book and anything can happen. I also liked it because I felt like I was in a story.
Last Thursday was that time of the year again...Wieden+Kennedy's Founders' Day, the day when we all get together to celebrate the founding of the agency and to get even more creative.
Like every year, the day's itinerary was shrouded in mystery and this year was no different, apart from the strong hint that there would be a 1920s movie glamour theme, which we deciphered from the posters around the office, an invitation entitled 'Wieden+Kennedy Makes the Movies' and the 1920's short film we were shown featuring certain famous faces from around the agency!
We all gathered at the office first thing, and after a hearty breakfast, discovered that our day would be spent in teams, filming our very own 1920s silent movie. Props and all.
The result was 15 short, rather peculiar and hilarious silent movies that, dare we say it, were pretty impressive! We even had a silent rap video/horror movie mashup titled "Jack the Rapper". Turns out we're not too shabby at this thing.
We ended the day with a glitzy, Great Gatsby-esque dinner and party (minus the prohibition act) in Bloomsbury, dressed in our vintage finery. Just imagine lots of flappers and dapper gents, and an awful lot of feather boas. The fantastic entertainment included a live band, a burlesque dancer and a giant Martini glass. The highlight of the evening was of course a mass screening of our hard day's work and a few awards.
We had a great day all in all, and the best part was getting the chance to step outside of our usual roles and get creative whilst spending time with other W+Kers we don't always have the chance to work with.
Ted Royer (ECD Droga 5 NY) happened to be at the pub after D&AD judging across the road, coinciding with creative team Toby & Laurie's leaving drinks. They're leaving W+K to join Droga. Ted wasn't entirely sure who T&L were, but I forced them to pose for this. I praised him on coming to collect his fresh meat. And them for inviting their new boss to their leaving drinks.
Best wishes and good luck to Toby and Laurie in their new jobs at Droga NY.
Every year in March, the CdeC (Spain's version of D&AD) celebrates the 'Dia C,' the main event for the Spanish advertising industry. It hosts creativity awards as well as lectures from local and international speakers. W+K CDs – and bonafide Spaniards – Carlos and Laura, were invited to speak. They write:
We had been invited to talk about our experience working overseas, so we thought that it would be a great opportunity to share with our colleagues a little of W+K philosophy and the way we do things here. We called it “Deconstructing W+K”.
We didn´t show any case studies or discuss any particular piece of work. Instead, we made quite an educational analysis on most of the wiedenisms (the sayings and philosophies W+K has adopted over the years), the idiosyncrasy of our creative process and the challenges and rewards of a ruthless commitment to creative excellence.
The take-out we wanted to leave behind was that the values that have made W+K one of the greatest agencies can really travel and be inspirational for those young and independent agencies starting up everywhere. As we said, “The best work of our lives” is not just a punchy line from a well-established and successful business, but a principle of work ethic that a small, independent agency chose 33 years ago and that any creative business in any small town of Spain can choose too.
This edition of the 'Dia C' took place in Pamplona, Ernest Hemingway´s favourite Spanish town. And we dare to say that it's much tougher to stand in front of 500 creatives with a hangover than being chased by a herd of wild bulls. But thankfully, everything turned out pretty well and the audience praised how inspired they felt to embrace failure more often and to happily walk in a little bit more stupid every morning.
Lots of people at W+K were wondering why a woman was taking lots of photos of them last week. Check out today's Time Out and you'll understand why. W+K has been included in an article based on London offices that serve up 'a healthy dose of fun.'