Could an unorthodox creative partnership ignite your career?

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single copywriter in the creative industries, must be in want of an art director.

Or at least, that’s how the advertising gospel true has been preached until now. This year at D&AD, president Andy Sandoz exhorted a new approach to creative work:

Don’t polish ideas. Set them free in the world. See how people interact with them. Iterate.

After a long bout of imposter syndrome, it was the validation I’d been hoping for. You see, after five years’ of in-house and freelance work, I had decided to go against the grain and choose a different kind of creative partnership.

Agile, experimental, with an iterative approach to creativity.

Ever curious and determined to carve my own path, I partnered with a web developer.

Enter the Matrix

At first, I was unsure of what we could actually achieve together. Everyone knows copywriters work with designers, or designers work with web developers. A copywriter and a developer working together is just a bit bonkers.

After all, our approaches to problems are diametrically opposed. My creative partner looks for efficiencies, methodologies and pragmatic solutions to business problems, whilst I think about big picture ideas, stories and characters. She must think I live in a Pratchett novel, while she lives in the matrix.

But the creative collision of ideas works. Brilliantly.

Currently, we work at an intriguing juncture, where devices, apps and slogans intersect with the fundamental irrationality of human behaviour. The truth is, even with the most advanced  functionality, jazzy UX or slick design features, you still have no idea how people will actually interact with new things.

And that’s where the opportunity for copywriters lies in this brave new cyberworld: putting a human face on technology. I might like my fridge to order my shopping for me, but I would be delighted if it did so in the character as Baldrick.

Imagine a fridge that ordered groceries, alerted you to cunning plans and occasionally surprised you with a turnip.

What a marvellous world that would be.

Lean In, Step Out

Opportunities abound outside the traditional creative sphere, for those prepared to step out, take a risk and do something a bit more interesting than generic copy. If you’re bored of the everyday, I implore you to take a chance. Ignore naysayers. Do something unexpected. Collaborate with someone completely different to you.

You never know where it might take you.

You might even co-invent a sentient, turnip-loving fridge.

An earlier version of this post was published by Becca Magnus on Medium

Follow @BeccaMagnus or her agency Swift + Magnus on Twitter


3rd August 2016

Andy Callan

If you think a web developer is an unorthodox partner, I’ve just joined forces with an accountant to launch a Kickstarter campaign! Gotta admit though, it’s working much better than I’d imagined!

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