We're through creative a branding and digital agency from Macclesfield near Manchester. We've put together this site to create a source of inspiration, we hope you like it.

Makers vs. Talkers & Why Now Is a Great Time for Creatives to Lead

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: behanceteam | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
signboard-cropped

Image via Iamsteveo.wordpress.com

Research has shown that creatives aren’t often given the opportunity to lead because there’s an unconscious bias against them. People associate creativity with nonconformity and unconventionality. And when they think about an effective leader, they think about someone who brings order. Obviously if you believe that a leader’s role is to bring order, you wouldn’t want a creative to lead. (Of course, this has nothing to do with whether creatives actually can lead, it’s just a bias many of us have.)

What’s interesting is that these qualities which have typically biased folks against creatives as leaders — that they’re unconventional, unorthodox, and full of un-tested new ideas about the way things should be done — are actually turning into assets when we look at today’s work and business landscape and how it’s evolving. 

I recently spoke with design guru John Maeda about why makers make great leaders for our new 99U book Make Your Mark:

The transition from maker to leader is a big challenge for many creative people. What do you think that’s about?

When you make things with your hands, you force something into being. You sand it, you cut it, you fold it . . . You do everything to build it from end to end. Whereas leading requires a lot of talking, a lot of communicating—not using your hands. And when you’re a creative who makes things, you immediately build a distinction between the talkers and the makers. And makers tend to look down on talkers. And leaders are talkers. You don’t trust them, but now you’re one of them. [laughs] At first you think you can’t make anything with your hands anymore. But you can. You make relationships. One at a time. With the same painstaking attention to craft that you knew as a maker.

Do you think that part of the struggle is that when you become a leader you become more removed from direct ownership of the product?

I don’t think that it’s just ownership. It’s about integrity, and how you’re framing what those different roles mean. If I’m a maker, and you’re not a maker, I’m better than you because I have integrity, and you don’t. You’re just talking. So it’s about a necessary reframing of your “maker” role. You no longer get your hands dirty or clothes messed up as a badge of belonging. As a leader, you are alone—and accountable for the needs of the whole. The whole is the product. And you’re making it. You own it. And you succeed and fail by it.

Does this relentless focus on integrity have an upside when it comes to leading a business?

I think the pursuit of integrity is a good thing, because it isn’t about profit—it’s only about quality. Companies need a very clear sort of compass to succeed, and when profit is the motivation, it isn’t enough. Creatives are driven by passion, by integrity, and by quality. So they know how to focus on product, and how it feels. And that’s a very important strength. Especially right now. It used to be that you would buy a product just because it had good technology. You didn’t care about the design. But that’s not the case anymore.

It seems like, in theory, the ideal leader would be a maker, a manager, and a leader. Do you think that those things all coexist in one person with any kind of frequency?

I don’t know about frequency, but I know about growth and how people evolve. Given the current environment, I think that people are being forced to change. A few decades ago, when things were more stable, we could all just sort of stay in our little roles. But now the pace of change is so rapid, and things are confusing. So we have to just try stuff. And fail. And recover, and try again. If there’s one skill that a leader needs, it’s the attitude espoused by the late, great Nelson Mandela, “Do not judge me by my successes; judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Creatives know that attitude so well—and manage ambiguity better than anyone else. And combined with the ability to execute, to really get things done, they’re in a great position to lead.


This post is excerpted from 99U’s new book, Make Your Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact, which features insights from 21 visionary founders, designers, and entrepreneurs. Learn more.


Top Ten: The ten most popular graphic design projects and studios of 2014

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: Emily Gosling | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_graphic-design

There’s been so much superb graphic design this year, from posters to identity projects to cake shop branding. The things that have got you most excited have included work for huge clients like Airbnb, posters showing the innocent victims of gun violence and on a more light-hearted note, some very sweet work for a confectionary shop. All brilliant, smart projects that show the breadth and skill of 2014’s graphic design output.

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


Editor’s Picks: Some of the best interviews on the site in 2014

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: Maisie Skidmore | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_editors-picks-interviews

One of the best things about being at It’s Nice That is the incredible multitude of brilliant, hilarious, weird and insanely talented people we get to talk to on a weekly basis, whether we’re dragging them around the corner from our studio for lunch in Euro Cafe, trying to squeeze as many questions as physically possible into a 20 minute Skype call or emailing back and forth for weeks at a time. The end of the year is a time for looking back, or so I’m told, so here’s my selection of the very best interviews from the site this year across photography, art direction, game design and illustration. feet up and off you

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


My 2014: It’s Nice That Director Will Hudson’s year so far

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: Will Hudson | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_will-h

It’s Nice That founder and director Will Hudson’s appearances on the site are few and far between these days, but we managed to sit him down long enough to give us a flavour of how the past 12 months has been for him. He’s a man of big arms, few words and strong opinions and as our lodestar he guides us through whatever the art and design world throws at us. Here’s his reflections on 2014…

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


Editor’s Picks: Liv Siddall picks out gems from the "miscellaneous" category

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: Liv Siddall | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_editors-picks-misc

The miscellaneous category is rarely added to, but when it is it’s usually with someone or something pretty spesh. I like to think of it a little bit like that drawer or cupboard in your house where you stash the really useful crap that is too good to throw away. In this list I’ve compiled a few of my favourites from 2014, from bread-simulation games to round-the-clock breakfast radio. If you’re still hungry for more miscellany, just head over here.

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


Top Ten: Like illustration? Love our round up of the year’s best!

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: James Cartwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_illustration

Illustration, more than any other discipline we cover on It’s Nice That, teaches us an awful lot about our audience when aggregated into a top ten list of articles. You’re a weird bunch, it has to be said; dirty-minded and deviant. How else do we explain the creepy comics of Joan Cornella, Laura Callaghan’s tales of Tinder cannibalism and Nimura Daisuke’s gratuitous GIFs? Granted there’s some stunning vintage advertising, an archive of emoji and some wonderfully diverse editorial illustration in there too, but for the most part it’s just smut and violence. Merry Christmas!

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


The ultimate It’s Nice That 2014 studio mixtape!

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: Liv Siddall | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Main

10 hour days require some diverse, entertaining playlists. And with an office holding about 20 or so music fans beneath its roof, you can imagine there is quite a lot of different tastes floating around. In this mixtape we have tried to sum up the general nature of the music we listen to at It’s Nice That, meanwhile keeping it cool enough that you could probably put it on at a party and get away with it (apart from R.Kelly’s World’s Greatest – you may want to skip that in trendy company).

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


My 2014: Assistant Editor Maisie Skidmore looks back on this year

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: Maisie Skidmore | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_maisie-s

This year I travelled a bit, read a lot and learned to cook a roast dinner. Here are some other good things I picked up along the way.

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


Editor’s Picks: James Cartwright on this year’s best record sleeve designs

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: James Cartwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_editors-picks-record-sleeves

Unlike most music-based list features this selection of the best records of 2014 has nothing at all to do with the tunes. It’s simply a list of some of my favourite sleeves to appear on the site, based purely on their aesthetics. In some cases the music etched into the vinyl is straight-up terrible, but cast your acoustic prejudices to one side for the time being and get ready to appreciate some seriously slick sleeve design.

Read more

Advertise here via BSA


Top Ten: Watch the top ten moving image projects from the site this year

Posted: December 19th, 2014 | Author: Rob Alderson | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

List_moving-image

Encompassing animation, music videos, short films and adverts, moving image is not only one of the most eclectic end-of-year round-ups, it’s also the only category that doesn’t (for obvious reasons) get celebrated in the It’s Nice That Annual. But that’s slightly unfair as some of the biggest hitters on the site this year fall in this field, and it’s a fantastically wide-ranging top ten, ranging from CGI trickery and super-weird comedy to a thought-provoking short about gender roles.

Read more

Advertise here via BSA