There's a post in my drafts folder called 'The difference between an advertising business and a design business'. It's been there for over a year. Look there it is.
It's about the differences in the businesses, not the industries. The things an advertising business is good at and the things a design business is good at. It will be a great post. I may never finish it.
But I was reminded of one thing an advertising business is good at the other day. Something design businesses don't ever do properly. (Well, packaging companies sort of do it, but it's different.) Strategy, trends, consumer research, call it what you want. It's looking outside of your field at the wider world and, most importantly, real people. Those last sentences sound very clumsy but you know what I mean.
Luckily for all you designers Piers from PSFK is putting on a brilliant thing called Good Ideas Salon London. You should go. Here's some people from the speaker list.
Jeremy Ettinghausen \ Director of Digital \\ Penguin
Kate Moross \\ Designer
Eva Rucki \ Founding Partner \\ Troika Design
Paul Graham \ Partner \\ Anomaly UK
Kevin Anderson \ Blogs Editor \\ The Guardian
...and 20 or so others. I'd like to hear what all that lot have to say. Wouldn't you?
Lots of agencies are freezing pay but increasing training at the moment. You could do worse than to book a ticket for this and write training on your expenses form. You can buy tickets here.
Whilst we're on the subject. Here's another thing you should do.
Ruby Pseudo is speaking at the above event (that's reason to go in itself).
But you should definitely subscribe to the Ruby Pseudo Chat Chat blog. Ruby Pseudo is essentially a youth consultancy. And a brilliant one. They have a network of over 250 kids and they offer genuine, unfiltered, raw research. "If you want it told like it is, with some very real and useable strategy recommendations, then you have found the right person..." Simon Pestridge said that and he's Marketing Director of Nike UK. So he probably knows what he's on about.
I've just worked with them on a project and it the stuff they provided was superb. And I definitely probably knows what I'm on about.
If you still think the kids wear chambray shirts, dance to Deacon Blue at discos and say "wicked" (like I do) then you should start reading that blog. This post, for example, rounds up 23 brilliant, talented teenage photographers on Flickr . Not two, or five. But twenty three.
Again, as designers we don't really get exposed to this kind of stuff very often. Nowhere near as often as we should, and it's a revelation when we do.
So. Subscribe to Ruby and go to Ideas Salon London.