Tom Law has 10 years of experience working as a Creative Director. His background is in filmmaking, which has put storytelling at the heart of his projects. Whether it’s creating compelling vision films, or designing digital media for exhibitions, he has a strong visual approach, that is combined with strategic thinking.
In this article, Tom explain his creative process and answer your questions about the industry and creativity.
When I first receive the brief, I pull it apart and explores the details. Defining the creative concept is key. I believe content should be exciting and playful, and central to this is my desire to find the human element which strikes an emotional chord.
This sends me down a vortex of data; illustration, film, music, text, games…. Anything. I surround myself in the mess of data, with the idea to get lost in it. Eventually, I'll start to notice a pattern. Make connections. Which is the start of a creative concept.
Finding the hook
A great idea doesn’t come out of thin air. In the beginning, it’s about getting your head into the brief and allowing everything to be interesting. But, finding the hook is the hard part. It’s the process of refinement.
To do this, I chip away at all the bits that don’t look like a good idea. The elements that don’t quite fit. Part of this process is asking yourself: does this answer the brief? Is it exciting? Can this idea be applied across different mediums?
Once this process of refinement is complete, it’s about taking the client on your journey. Show the thread which connects their needs to your concept, use language from their brief - show don’t tell.
Ask me anything
We asked our Instagram audience, "What questions would you like to ask a Creative Director?” They submitted a ton of great responses, a few of which, are highlighted below:
How can I become a Creative Director?
A Creative Director can come from a variety of backgrounds. It's important to have a good understanding of the mediums you work, as it helps when directing teams. But, you could be an illustrator or a copywriter, for example, and step into a Creative Director role. It’s about ideas and having experience across different types of briefs.
How do you understand what music will work in a film?
This is one of my favourite parts because it’s often the track you wouldn’t have thought would fit, that ends up working. So be open, try that trip-hop track you listened to when you were a teenager, you never know!
What was the most difficult project you've worked on at Squint/Opera?
Most projects have their challenges at some point, but a big part of my role is problem-solving. I’m currently working on the new Holocaust exhibit for IWM, it poses many creative and emotional challenges but you keep learning along the way.
Do you compromise in the process of work? If the initial storyboard doesn't work?
Sometimes, and that’s fine. You might have a killer idea, but if that route isn’t exactly what the client needs to communicate their idea, then you have to adapt. At Squint, we dig into what the client is trying to communicate to their audience, we don’t try to fit a product or service to a brief.