What’s Starting To Click?

Creativity – which I define as the expression of an original idea that provides value – is, frankly, a confidence trick.  

What I mean by this is that most people grow up losing the confidence to express ideas, or they grow up losing the curiosity to ask what if?,  or why not?

At the School of Communication Arts we don’t simply teach frameworks related to advertising and communications, we teach how to find your flow.   We need things to click.   We need you to bring your swagger to the party.

Our current intake are on their half-term break before the final push towards Portfolio Day.

We wanted to know if things were starting to click.   Here’s what the 23/34 intake (Cymbals) told us in May, a few weeks before their final drumroll.


Once something clicks, it means that you can suddenly understand it. Though, I would say that it does come from all of your subconscious lessons.

The SCA can be fast and busy. Everything can feel huge and important. But, it is those things that do not seem to matter that can help you to learn. Listening to people talk at the pub teaches you about how Gen Z date. Lying out in the sun reminds you that people in the UK need more of the sun to feel more happy. Eating a melting ice cream makes you think about how warm our world is right now. These seemingly small things lead to big thoughts. You could call it dot collecting.

I used to study Fine Art, so strategy is not a strength of mine. But I am a bit better at it by now. I notice things that I did not see before. I watch the world. I wonder why people do what they do and with myself. Why do we buy things? What are the things that we buy into? Why? Small clues lead to the big things. This has helped our work receive good feedback for being smart and brave.

Stay curious. Stay open. More things will start to click. We should want to keep learning about others. We should have empathy with things we would not notice before.

What has clicked? Small things. Big things. Insights. Truth.


I’m starting to recognise good ideas and see their long-term potential. I’m also noticing creative, unconventional thoughts more easily, and I’m learning how to develop these ideas effectively.

I’m writing better lines by quickly drafting a lot and then refining them. Ian’s classes and studying top-notch work have changed how I view Art Direction. More generally, I now understand the importance of simplicity, though I still tend to be too vague by default. I also grasp the concept of delighting people and creating memorable work.

My process with SMPs isn’t where I want it to be. I struggle with writing and working from them in a linear way. I’m beginning to see insights, but I have trouble holding onto them and connecting them to a product decisively. Strategy is particularly challenging for me because my mind jumps to executions and struggles to think in a more logical, non-visual way.

However, overall, the process is a little less painful than at the start, which means something must be clicking! I also feel I have gathered some useful frameworks and questions that I can use to open up a new brief.


Since the late nights working on D&AD I have slowly been regaining my sleep. Giving me a clearer head to have more energy to be more playful. It’s been great for seeing what’s working and what’s not. Where am I falling into repeated pitfalls and finding golden moments where things are starting to click.

You have to be curious and non-judgemental. This is vital at the start of a project. If you restrict yourself too early you switch off from a playful child. You have to think freely to build up energy and then you can filter down after getting all your thoughts out onto paper. Then you can question if you’re saying the best thing possible for the project.

An idea has to be simple. It can seem like an insignificant word or thought you may have. Spotting those moments and not brushing them off as not clever enough is vital. It’s a thought that is right under people’s noses but they don’t acknowledge them. When those thoughts are brought to people’s attention it allows them to emotionally bond to the idea as they can relate to them.

You can use a product benefit to approach a campaign. But it is the emotional insights which can elevate your work to truly connect with people. It’s as simple as looking at your own actions and thinking how do I respond in this moment? How do I feel? How do other people react? Do we all do the same thing? If you chat to multiple people and realise that ‘aha’ moment you’re onto something special, you have stumbled across a universal truth.

Strategy is very important. When you find an insight or product truth question is it too small of an idea? Will it reach as many people as we want it to? Is it compelling enough, or the most compelling thing you can say about this product?

But think beyond strategy. What is the magic you can bring to the campaign that a planner couldn’t? This is how being a creative is defined. Yes, you could just display scientific insight and create a generic campaign. Or you could think how to do it differently. What hasn’t been done in this field before, what is on the edge of being cancelled for being potentially too maverick? Half of the journey is landing on a thought and strategy but then you can’t stop there you have to push further and add your sparkle to the thought. People won’t know what the strategy is, they won’t be able to see it in the final execution. All they will be able to remember was how you made the campaign memorable.


What’s starting to click is a question that went round my head all weekend. I know I have come pretty far during my time at SCA so why am I struggling so much to think of the answer? Before I started SCA I was a year out of uni and in that year I worked as a teaching assistant to 4 year olds, some pretty wack stuff happened that year and I had actually just made the decision to completely cut out booze. I came to SCA scared too, apart from the few books I had read that summer I knew nothing about advertising, I had a degree in photography and knew nothing about digital design but one thing I did have was a lot of resilience and the knowledge that this was my only opportunity to do this, I wasn’t giving myself a second chance and I knew I had to do this and do it well.

The first term of SCA was terrifying. Everyone says the second term is the worst because of New Blood and partner stress but I dispute this. Maybe because I have been so lucky meeting my amazing copywriter and how hard ( if I may, very modestly say ) we slayed D and AD. First term was intense, more specifically the first week. I have never in my life put so much pressure on myself when the out come was making a gif of a fucking lemon. After a few weeks of this and starting with the briefs I pretty quickly learnt you need to pick and choose your battles with SCA. Yeah , in an ideal word how you do anything is how you do everything but you need to learn to prioritise certain stuff or you will just become a mess

This was something that I think clicked mainly during New Blood. My partner and I were working on 2 separate, amazing briefs and we had to scrap one. When it comes to something like new blood you can’t give 90% to two things , you need to give 100% to one. You can try to give 100% to both but I would argue that’s impossible. I think in periods of time you can give 100% to only one thing, if you are trying to give 100% to more than 2 things it doesn’t work. Another thing that clicked for me during new blood was how to be an art director and how to do it well.

As I mentioned I knew nothing about digital design, I followed a few quick illustrator tutorials on YouTube and knew the basics of photoshop but vectors and after effects were a scary alien world. I would say I picked it up pretty quickly though. With my photography background you could argue I know what looks good and I feel like I made it work. I learnt at my own pace and set my own weekly goals, I learnt new skills and I became a pretty competent, and good art director. And I love it. I am so excited , I have been a creative person from birth. When I was younger all I wanted to do was draw and paint and now I’m older all I want to do is draw and paint. I didn’t do very well in non creative subjects at school and I left college with 2 A levels, one in photography and one in fine art. I worked as a freelance photographer a lot but I didn’t love how unstable it was. I just didn’t know a job which allows you to be creative , happy, work with someone else, fun, innovative and STABLE exists. Mad. And that’s what I’m doing now ! Yay! That’s what’s clicked, I see a positive, fulfilling future for myself, which until this year, I couldn’t see. And that feels really empowering to say.

On a side note I want to give a big shout out to Ian Hands. Easily the best teacher I have ever had ( he’s up there with my A Level photography teacher but Ian does take the lead). A lot of what I know now is due to him. His Wednesday classes are the highlight of my week. One hour talk about blank space? Yes PLEASE ! Looking at typography ? Yes PLSSS! I love it!

Art direction is fun. It’s making shit look good, it’s expressing a whole plethora of factors through pixels, it’s almost a bit like maths. Here is my equation for art direction.

( colour palette x textures ) + (font size ÷ spacing)

____________________________________________ x TOV x time = A CAMPAIGN LOOK

( illustration/photography) + ( the grid x composition)

Pretty chuffed with that one.

Leading on from Ian I would say the third thing that has clicked is know who to listen to. At SCA you are going to be bombarded with so many peoples opinions. At the beginning of the course you will try to listen to every person’s opinion but as it goes on you will learn that there’s certain peoples opinions you value a lot more than others. Then, with those opinions you value getting as much extra time with them as you possibly can. There’s hacks to SCA, and one of those is you can get an hour slot with Ian, you just need to be clever about it. Another one of those is there are certain mentors which will meet with you on their days off, be polite, be eager to learn and be eager to grow.

I am grateful for SCA and the things I have learnt and the things that are starting to click, things are starting to feel a lot more real now. A few months ago the thought of going to work in the real world with agencies terrified me but now I am ready. It doesn’t bring me anxiety, it brings me excitement, I am ready to show the world who I am and what I have to offer. I t̶h̶i̶n̶k̶ know I’m a strong young woman and my future will be bright.


I looked back. Notes from the year. Right from the start. What I didn’t know. What I do now.

What’s an SMP? Pete’s told us. Again and again. We craft. Keep it basic. So close. Still room to grow. We find truth. Sell it. Click.

Words that sell? Caz knows. She says write more. Show. Tell a story. Make it fun. Edit. Art is to omit. Rob says edit too. So we edit. Click.

Make it look good? Ian won’t quit. Use the grid. He’s right. Looks tight. Spit and polish. Like Lego. Click.

What’s a strategy? Uri tells us. Ask. Map it out. Win. The 3 Cs. Avoid traps. Yet to click.

Fame! Marc wants it. For us. But how? This might click next.

Two months left. 65 days. More clicks please. More.


What is starting to click? Click. The word itself ends on a plosive consonant or stop sound. So then, what is starting to click? What is starting to make a sharp sound? And because clicking is a sharp sound, what hasn’t clicked yet? What is still to click?

For me, the creative process itself is something I’ve started to come to terms with. I have, since the course began, I think, been looking (like Galahad) for a well-worn path to the big idea. A reliable, somewhat linear even, route in. And — whilst I’ve been provided with robust processes — I’ve slowly come to realise that my quest itself is flawed insofar as it holds at its heart the assumption that there is a shortcut as such.

I’ve now reframed or leaned into the problem. (Was it ever a problem?) The serendipity of the creative process is itself to be embraced and enjoyed. To be grateful for. Research gives you insight. The insight informs the proposition. The proposition is the springboard to the ideas. Which is a roundabout way of saying, perhaps: What is starting to click? I am. There is no click. There is only the clicking.


There are a few things that are starting to click as we enter into the final half term of the course.

Firstly, the importance of ‘the process’. It looks different for everyone but essentially it’s the way you get to your creative ideas. Sometimes a great creative solution will pop into your head out of nowhere when you’re going over the brief – but that usually isn’t the case. Instead, you need a way to help you get to where the ideas are.

For most briefs, it starts with research. Once you think you’ve found out everything there could possibly be to know about the brief – the client, the customer, the context, the audience, what the ads that have already been done look like – you can start to write your own brief. This is helpful in distilling all that research down and forcing you to think about what is actually important for your solution. That should give you some direction in where you think some fruitful ideas might be. If by now you don’t have a useful insight, then more research is in order. Once you have some insights, you can start to draft propositions – these are the lines off of which you do your creative executions, so they need to be something that you can visualise lots of ways of how they might look.

So in summary, my process is something like;

1. Research

2. Write your own brief

3. More research

4. Find insights

5. Write propositions

6. Execute

Secondly, the importance of iteration. Simply put, iteration is trying different ways of laying out your ads until you find the best version possible. Rarely is the first thing you try the most compelling form your ad can take. Often trying the things that you think will never work, actually lead you somewhere unexpectedly exciting. So, try the weird colours, the odd placements for type, the bizarre fonts… and play until you find something fun.

Lastly, keeping your eyes and ears open wherever you go, and talking to everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s amazing what insights other people have that you might be able to turn into something exciting.


What’s Starting to Click

Eight months ago, I took the plunge into the world of advertising at the SCA. No prior experience, just a relentless appetite for popular content and a knack for spotting cultural patterns in TV shows like The Simpsons and The Sopranos, as well as reality TV gems like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Dr. Phil. I thought, if I could survive binge-watching those, I could handle anything.

It turns out that dissecting Slavoj Žižek’s theories or Julia Kristeva’s musings doesn’t quite prepare you for SCA’s boot camp. Imagine this: your work is put on display, then ripped apart by your peers and mentors, all in the name of constructive criticism. It felt more like a public flogging at first. My initial reaction? Sheer panic. I thought, ‘This is it. They’ve seen through my facade’.

But then, something clicked. I had to learn to separate myself from my work. A tough lesson when your creative soul feels intertwined with every project. But necessary. My work is not me. Repeat after me: ‘My work is not me’. This realisation changed everything.

Detaching my ego from my creations allowed me to actually hear the feedback. Instead of feeling like a personal attack, I started to see critiques as invaluable advice. It wasn’t easy. There were days I wanted to throw my laptop out the window. But I persevered. And guess what? My ideas got sharper. My strategies are more robust. I started to thrive.

Strategic thinking and creative ideation? That’s just the beginning. I’ve learned to look at problems from every possible angle, and then some. Brainstorming has become my new favourite activity. Who knew that refining an idea over and over again could be so satisfying?

Then there’s the storytelling. The power of a good narrative is undeniable. Crafting a story that resonates and moves people—there’s nothing quite like it. Seeing it all come together, knowing that your story has the potential to change minds and inspire action, is immensely rewarding.

Working with my peers has been another eye-opener. Collaboration isn’t just a buzzword here; it’s a way of life. Great ideas don’t happen in isolation. They’re the product of many minds working together, each adding a unique twist. And yes, sometimes that means butting heads, but the end result is always worth it.

So, what’s starting to click? Everything, really. The importance of feedback, the art of detachment, the thrill of collaboration, and the impact of storytelling. It’s been challenging, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m not just learning to be an advertiser; I’m learning to be resilient, open-minded, and, dare I say it, a bit wiser.

The journey is far from over, and I’m excited to see what other ‘click’ moments lie ahead. Who knew that diving into the deep end would be so illuminating? Here’s to more discoveries and a lot more clicking.


Before the SCA, nothing seemed to click. I didn’t know if my ideas were good enough, if my campaigns were to industry standards, or if I was even good enough to be a creative.

As we entered the last term, everything seemed to change. Everything is making sense now. I know how to weed out ideas and I know when my work is ready to be shown to important people.

My ways and methods are also making sense now. I know what to do to get into playful child mode and how to get over my creative block. I’ve learnt my likes and dislikes when it comes to design. Knowing how to do all this has simplified my process because there is no ambiguity. I have logical steps to follow incase issues arise.

Another thing that is starting to click is where I see my career going. I had entered unsure and I’m leaving knowing I want to be a creative director. I want to make ads that people would want to take pictures of and share.


Recently, I’ve felt like Megamind—not in the way you might think. More like Megamind without his superpowers: blue, out of place, a bit odd, like an alien with an unusually large brain. I never thought I’d compare myself to him, but here we are. My brain has been fed so much information in such a short time. I felt out of place. The information was challenging enough, but even more so in my second language. It was overwhelming at first. Now it feels natural. All the information floated around in my brain. Then, something shifted. I don’t know exactly when, but one day I woke up and things had changed. The masterclasses started to make sense: strategy, SMPs,insights,grid. It felt a bit easier. Just a little.

Maybe it’s the focus on the book. Maybe it’s realising that the pieces are actually a puzzle, and now I’ve collected the corners and can work my way to the middle. Maybe it’s that the repetition of the grid or Pete’s masterclasses is finally getting through to me.

Scamping has really helped. It’s easier to explain your vision to the mentors and to each other. “This is what we want; how can we get there?” Showing mentors scamps gives them something visual to focus on. We can talk about it and show how we connected the dots to get to the idea. Mind maps have been a lifesaver. Once we made them a routine for our brainstorming, the whole process has been so much easier—easier and more enjoyable. It makes so much sense. If people show me a blank page and tell me, “This is my idea,” I would also get confused. If they showed me a little scamp or a mind map, it’s so much easier to help. I still find it weird to hang them up on the walls, but we’re working on it. It feels illegal, like it’s not our space at The Drum. Although we show them to each other and spread them out on the floors or tables, scamping is nice because I’m not good at drawing, but Hannah is good at seeing the potential in my scamps.

Things have improved since Hannah and I teamed up. I feel like I can focus on what I’m really good at and not struggle to be something I’m not. I still mock some things up and make visuals, but it’s not my main job. We do it together. We write and create the visuals together. We say everything out loud and come up with lines or ways of executing the visuals. It’s open, respectful, and so fun. I feel seen and heard. I feel like this is something I can do, that we will actually make it. I feel hopeful. Being cheeky and funny, but smart in the way we execute ideas, is how I want to make ads.

By the way, Megamind is kinda hot—or at least according to TikTok…

I’m going to continue to write slogans now. Over and out.

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