All the bestish – By @rubyq

By Ruby Quince


All the bestish


It’s all about the book right now. It’s how we’re show potential employers what we’re made of. It’s ‘our best’ and it’s what we’re to be judged upon. It feels finite and daunting.


I remember someone saying that when they were presented with work they would ask ‘is this your best work?’. Most of the time people would scurry off, knowing full well it probably wasn’t. It was what they were prepared to offer at that time. It’s a good tactic, I reckon, but I’m not sure it’s the route to best.


We’re told never to apologise for anything in our books. And why would you even have something in there that needed an accompanying apology? Well, sometimes things are a work in progress but the newest, freshest campaign you’re working on and what you’re excited by. On a lot of crits it’s the work in progress that the ECDs want to talk about most. 


Oftentimes it’s a chance for someone to flex his or her creative muscle. Perhaps it’s a playground for them to frolic in without the pressure and responsibility of output. To see an experienced creative go to town on an idea and funnel it into advice can be a thing of wonder. Let’s be honest, most creative person you share an idea with have an opinion. If your idea has anything of merit it will spark a thought in some direction.


Some great crits result in a bunch of new ideas. Some good, some great, some first thoughts shared with supreme confidence. Frankly, the first thoughts of great creatives are often stronger than some of the things we’ve labored on and got lost on anyway. And, of course, some blind alleys that you have to reverse out of, but the best advice givers will acknowledge that. 


I’m never sure where the lines as regards to ownership: certainly ideas from crits have made their way into my book. I don’t give attribution. I like to think a good starting point sparks something better.


As a single, I sorely miss the bouncing back and forth of ideas, so I’ll take what I can get. If I can get away with a scamp (which is much better bait than a crafted piece) and it nurtures new thoughts in conversation, all the better. That’s good fishing. 


A recent potential employer told me that he has a lot of creatives that haven’t sold an idea in for over a year, but he’s not phased. The process they show in getting to the wrong idea is often the jump off to the right idea. They are a valuable cog in the machine. We get into the habit of worshiping the creators of work we love without really knowing the journey that led to it. How often is the line clean and pure? I digress. 


As I write, I’m aware that my language has moved from the idea of ‘best’ to notions of ‘better’.

I think that ‘best’ isn’t a thing; there are just degrees of better and a point on the journey where the increments to the mythical ‘best’ become too small to notice. Perhaps we need a new term. Bestish?


I know that my bestish is always going to be better with a proper art director or stronger copywriter. Maybe I’ll help them get to a new bestish. Perhaps chatting with a few customers of what we’re hawking will give us the thing to flip an eight into a nine. Maybe I’ll get to be part of something ‘best’ (if that exists) while I work out what my bestish is.

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