Balancing commercial creative Emily Stein

The delicate balancing act of creative and commercial work

Is it a creative industries myth that bigger budget client work can’t be creatively fulfilling? Design studio DR.ME, photographer Emily Stein and branding studio NB weigh in

Many fresh-faced creatives enter the industry armed with lofty ambitions that every project they work on will be pushing the boundaries of commercial creativity in one way or another. As the realities of making a living sink in, however, even the least money-oriented creatives come to learn the importance of getting paid – whether you are a freelancer or running a business.

Finding the balance between creatively fulfilling projects and more commercial work that pays the bills is something that people will no doubt be thinking about more deeply in the wake of the Great Resignation and the ongoing threats of stagflation and recession that loom over the UK economy. So how can creatives actually achieve that delicate balancing act?

Balancing commercial creative NB Studio
Top: Photography by Emily Stein; Above: NB Studio’s recent rebrand for media agency Mindshare

When branding and communication studio NB was first finding its footing in the late 90s, the team (which still includes two of its co-owners and creative directors, Nick Finney and Alan Dye), managed to secure a couple of high profile clients, including furniture design company Knoll and film studio PolyGram. “We got to work on some amazing film posters, things like Requiem for a Dream,” Dye tells CR. “But the client did make us do some really bad stuff to be able to do the good stuff, like the Barney the Dinosaur film.”