Everyone imagines that being a creative is awesome. But, far from brainstorming zany ideas while playing table tennis, the reality is that we spend a large chunk of our time being told what we’ve done wrong and what we could do better.
That’s why, when one wonderful client started typing compliments into the margins of our work to tell us what we’re doing right, it came as something of a surprise. So much so, in fact, that our designers turned his comments into a series of inspirational posters…
Step forward, lovely Jim from Concern – who, coincidentally, are enjoying a year of stellar results in fundraising.
This week, as part of our Open Train Me programme, we welcomed our very first external speaker, Beate Sørum.
Between running the digital fundraising consultancy b.bold and being an avid candy floss enthusiast, Beate speaks at major fundraising conferences around the world – from the IOF Convention in London to the International Fundraising Congress in Amsterdam – so we felt very lucky indeed to have her all to ourselves.
Beate’s talk covered the intricacies and importance of digital fundraising, and how in just a few years she was able to revolutionise the way the Norwegian Cancer Society raised money online. We’re a big bunch of fundraising nerds at heart, so working through the do’s and don’ts of online donation forms and website hierarchy was really interesting!
We’d like to say a big thank you to Beate for coming to visit us yesterday, brushing up our digital know-how, and leaving us with a newfound hatred for unnecessary boxes on donation forms.
In the studio at Open, we spend hours and hours, followed by a well-needed tea and biscuit break, and then more hours, searching for the perfect image. Searching for the one that communicates the exact feeling we’re looking for, and which tells the story quickly and clearly. The specific qualities that set these images apart differ wildly, but they tend to fall into two distinct types.
The first, taken by professional photographers, are eye-wateringly beautiful. They can include powerful portraits – capturing facial expressions that instantly reveal the depths of human experience in a way that words cannot.
Or they might be steeped in pathos, depicting poignant moments in time. Technically, they’re always brilliant – and exactly what’s needed in outdoor and press, where we only have a moment to grab the attention of a potential donor.
At first glance, the second kind of image can appear underwhelming. Taken by everyday people, they’re simple shots of real lives and surroundings. Although not conventionally beautiful, they can be equally powerful. By knowing who’s behind the camera, you are immediately drawn into their world.
You experience the raw emotion, unfiltered by someone else’s lens. In the right setting, and with time to appreciate the context, these images can hit every bit as hard as those taken by the professionals.
So, which one do you think is the better image? I’d say both are just as memorable and thought provoking – and equally worth searching for.