Creative Chemistry

It’s almost December, and with just three weeks to go til the end of term, there’s an elephant in the room. Come 22nd, we’ll be choosing who we want to partner up with for Term 2 (AKA D&AD season). There’s no guarantee we’ll even be matched with any of the three people on our shortlist, especially if the feeling isn’t mutual. Unrequited love is brutal, but scarier still is feeling like you haven’t even found The One.

Either way, there are still plenty of fish in the SCA sea that haven’t mingled, so we shouldn’t be panicking just yet. Who knows, maybe the next three-week stint with a new randomly assigned partner will see the start of something beautiful. 

But what makes a good creative match? I’ve been asking myself this a lot.

One thing that’s been said a few times now is that you don’t have to get on well with your partner to do amazing things together. When it comes down to it, it’s about creative chemistry. Leave politics and favourite foods at the door. Are there fireworks when you’re together? Do they give you “creative wood” (Marc’s words, definitely not mine)?

Admittedly, the thought of spending THAT much time with someone you don’t vibe with doesn’t sound particularly appealing. But a partner who’s also your best friend could be a bit…intense. And it becomes even harder to shoot each other’s ideas down when there are feelings involved. 

Besides, it’s human nature to prefer people who are similar to us: are two people who see the world through similar lenses really going to make work as interesting as two polar opposites? Probably not.

Next, forget anybody who doesn’t have the same creative taste as you. How are you going to do great things if you both have a different understanding of “great”? If their turn-ons are your turn-offs? But one thing I’ve learned over the past nine weeks is not to make a snap judgement about someone’s taste until you’ve actually spent time with them. You’d be surprised who’s into the stuff you’re into.

Thank god for our mentor Pete, for many reasons, but especially for going around the room asking us to share our career goals during one of his talks at the start of the course. While thinking long-term isn’t particularly sexy, we needed to hear about everyone’s goals. It’s all very well finding your perfect partner, but if they’re set on becoming a London CD and you want to hop around European PR agencies, you’re going to be doomed before you’ve even started. Or maybe you just break up once school’s over, like in The Notebook. Tragic.

Honey has a slight dilemma in that there are more copywriters than art directors. So some of us copywriters might have to put our preferences to one side and try batting for the other team. (I’d like to apologise to my partner for my lack of Adobe skills in advance if that’s me.) That said, some copywriters are starting to question their identity and considering transitioning, so that problem might solve itself.

Of course, there’s no pressure to partner up at all if you think you’re better off solo. That does come at the cost of more work and nobody to kill your ugly babies, but it does make your life simpler. You won’t have to fight over who gets custody of your D&AD pencils for one.


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