Bob Gill on how to have a good idea

Last week D&AD held a President’s Lecture in London that brought together three greats of the creative industries: Bob Gill, Sir Alan Parker and Lord David Puttnam, to talk about their early careers in advertising and the founding of D&AD (which is 50 years old this year).

Last week D&AD held a President’s Lecture in London that brought together three greats of the creative industries: Bob Gill, Sir Alan Parker and Lord David Puttnam, to talk about their early careers in advertising and the founding of D&AD (which is 50 years old this year).

While much of the evening was spent reminiscing on the trio’s time in advertising in London in the 1960s and 70s, Gill also offered up a piece of pithy advice for those working in the industry today, on how to get a great idea. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it involves creatives turning their backs on the persuasive influence of sites such as YouTube and getting out into the world.

“When you get a job – say an ad for a drycleaner – many images come to mind, we all have preconceptions,” Gill said. “My suggestion is to forget every image that comes to mind, forget everything you know about drycleaning.

“Instead of sitting at your computer, and looking at books, go to a drycleaner, and sit there. The way to get an interesting idea is to go to the source. Stay there until you have thought of something interesting about drycleaning. Then, listen to that idea and it will design itself.”

Upcoming D&AD President’s Lectures include talks by David Bailey, Sir John Hegarty and Sir Terence Conran. More info is at dandad.org.

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