Creative risk and craftsmanship: Peter Nicholson at VCU
The executive creative director of McKinney New York spoke to VCU Brandcenter students on April 11 about taking creative risks and the importance of craftsmanship, two closely related topics.
“The No.1 job of a creative is to take risks,” said Peter Nicholson. “A client does not hire an agency to do and think up what they could do themselves. Our job is to interpret a strategy and make something that makes people think, ‘How did they come up with that?’”
Peter asked the students if they consider themselves artists and then answered it himself: Yes. “Do not compromise,” he challenged the soon-to-be Brandcenter graduates. “Clients don’t know how to make an ad, and when execution kills an idea, the only one to blame is you — the creative. Craft is everything. Fail big and you will succeed. Sometimes what appears to be failure may actually be success. Take the necessary risks.”
Peter’s parting words of wisdom were that they embrace their fears about moving on after graduation, to use their fear as motivation. He also encouraged them to “make sure that your personality is coming through in your work. Instead of thinking about the ‘right’ answer, be honest about how you feel.”
Great craftsmanship, it seems, requires great risk.