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Paul Arden's lecture at the D&AD

"Everybody probably does want to be good but not everybody are prepared to make the sacrifices it takes. To some people being nice, to be liked is important. There is equal merit in that too. But you must not confuse being good with being liked. There may be not one person in this room that truly wants to be great. Most of you have come here for a solution. The way to become good. I have to tell you that I have no such solution. I can't teach you anything. I can tell you, but you won't hear me. The only way to learn is through your own experiences and mistakes. There is no instant solution. But I can offer some guidelines that have helped me."

  • Doing a layout means having an Idea.

  • Don't just arrange the words and pictures, invent a brand image for your client. Your advertisement should be recognizable at 500 paces.

  • Do Not try and win awards
    Be true to your client, and you will create something that's not transient, but lasting. That is where the true art lies.

  • Get out of Advertising.
    seek your influences from beyond its walls.

  • Aim beyond what you think you can achieve.
    Most of us are content to compete locally, with our neighbours. Change your scale of thinking to compete with the worlds best.

  • Energy.
    It's 75% of the job, if you havent got it, be nice.

  • Don't look at the next opportunity, the one that you have in hand is the one.

  • Do not Put your own cleverness in front of the communication.
    Do not try and justify your salary with witty ideas. Cleverness is simplicity. The issue itself is often the message.

  • Do Not seek praise, seek criticism.
    When you show somebody a piece of work, ask them what is wrong, not what is right. It might help you improve it. Note how most people simply want praise, what good is that to the job.

  • Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.
    Find out what is right with your clients products and dramatise it, like a cartoonist dramatises an action. Do not do negative advertising, it may win awards, but it does not win business, and it doesn't win sales

  • It's all my fault.
    Blame no-one, but your self, if you have touched something accept total responsibility for that piece of work. If you accept responsibility you are in the position to do something about it. If you are involved don't blame others.

  • Know your clients aims.
    We are trained to think advertising is all about selling products. That is often not the case. The motivation may be quite different. Always find out what a client wants to advertise for.

  • Do not covet your ideas.
    Give away everything and more will come back to you. They are not your ideas anyway they are God's.

  • When the client wont buy, do it his way, then do it your way.
    Very often having given him what he wants he will give you what you want. There is also the possibility he may be right.

  • Do it first, don't ask and be prepared to take the consequences.
    A new idea, is either silly, unfamiliar or both. It cannot be judged by description, it cannot even be judged as a storyboard. It needs to be done to exist. No one will sanction the cost, therefore you have no choice but to do it whatever the cost.

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