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The Importance of Craft: Breathing life into ideas

by Matt Alpass

What is Craft? For many people, “Craft” conjures up images of sticking cotton wool onto paper with Clag and adding goggly eyes and glitter as the finishing touches.

In truth, Craft now transcends all means of communication. It’s the snooze button you hit every morning; it’s the name of the podcast you listen to on the way to work; it’s the chair you sit on; the dinner you think looks really good; the Netflix Original you put on at night.

Craft now touches many facets of our lives – and in advertising it’s the instantaneous connection between people and brands. Craft isn’t just design; it’s the process that leads to the design or the little bit extra that squeezes every bit of potential out of an idea.

The importance of Craft. 

We’re currently involved in a restless world where it’s difficult to sit through a 15 second pre-roll YouTube video, let alone read an article on the importance of Craft. This is where carefully curated visual creation comes in, where it can help engage viewers and sell an idea. We may now take it for granted, but a carefully designed block of copy could be the difference between wanting to engage and instantly switching off. A good idea that is unloved is quickly forgotten.

Craft not only supports an idea, it can strip it back to reveal its simplicity and intelligence.

It’s the same way an illustrated cover of The New Yorker can describe the current state of international politics in one image, or how Saul Bass could sum up an entire film with only a couple of minimal shapes.

My past is in film and TV advertising – this is where BluRay slicks and theatrical one-sheets would need to instantly attract a passer-by in both a physical and digital world. The right tone, typography and imagery were required to sell a film in an A1 space in .002 seconds.

Some of the most memorable and successful films are branded. It’s easy to associate this ideal with traditional advertising and the way we are attracted to visually appealing things. The consumer must want to be involved with it, be seen with and invite others to be around it, which is not easy in our heavily scrutinised and self-aware world.

It’s this craft that makes the The New Yorker, ‘The New Yorker’ and not just another weekly news magazine. It’s what makes an award-winning HBO drama a highly acclaimed television show, and not just another take on NCIS. Craft and design with brands have been on the rise for a while now, but only recently have the big brands taken it onboard, thanks to the rise of Apple. It’s that vibrant, exciting and fresh feeling when you’re viewing AirBnB. The fun and playful, but straight to the point look of Google, and the newly rebranded Optus (yes) that’s entertaining and modern. All of these have had considered branding platforms, made to stand out from their competitors and adjust into the judgemental new world of engagement.

Craft is important, and we need to invest more time in it.

These days, developing an idea and making something is extremely easy and accessible. With the rise of image making mobile apps, online book publishers, inexpensive film-quality cameras, YouTube tutorials and free stock image and font sites, literally anyone can produce something. It’s the craft that defines it.

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