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SPARKING DIALOGUE FOR CREATIVE INNOVATION Inspirations and food for thought, brainstorms and collaborations: our articles pick the brains of creatives and businesses on industry trends, relevant issues, curious topics, and professional tips.

Artful Business: The Balance of Art & Commerce


Left brain versus right brain. Logic versus intuition. Numbers versus pictures. Art versus commerce.

Clients and creatives have been polarized into competing sides of the ideological spectrum. ‘Creative business’ is about the only suggestion of peaceful coexistence, although to most people, the term still rings of an oxymoron.

There isn’t any blaming the general notion; looking at the working styles of businesses and artists is peering into a vial of oil and water. Businesspersons are organized planners with carefully choreographed plans; creatives are carefree and spontaneously chase inspiration.

Understanding patterns is the first step to bridging the dividing line. While it is tempting to criticize habits and traits, it boils down to the simple matter of objectives. What is the other’s driving force? What do they want to achieve?

Most businesses operate on the notion of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Meaning, once they’ve found a successful pattern, they repeat it. Creatives, on the other hand, seek to discover what’s never been done before. They work hard to abandon what’s already been done, despite its success, in order to deliver something fresh each day.

At the core, the objectives are polar opposites of the other. One mimics existing successful patterns; the other seeks the road not taken. Realizing and harnessing the strengths of each makes for a winning team.

A word to clients:

As businesspersons, you hire creatives to be noticed and attract attention. Whether its to stand out from the crowd or stand toe-to-toe with the competition, you must have a willingness to explore the visual unknown in order to know how to best differentiate yourself.

Creatives are your visual translators. If you want to get the best out of them, let creatives do what they do best…play. Point them in the right direction, rather than dictate how to go down the road. Let the creative journey take its meandering course and trust that your creative team will get you there.

A thought to creatives:

As creatives, you must begin the creative process knowing the end in mind. This requires listening and understanding your client’s business problems, which are usually practical things that need solving. For example, a commercial business might need more sales, more visibility against the competition. A homeowner needs a kitchen that’s large enough to cook in, a place to entertain guests, and room for luggage. The solution may not necessarily have to be common or practical, it can be dramatic and unusual, but it must solve the problem. After all, as creatives, you are ultimately hired to be problem solvers.

To facilitate communication between you and your client, it helps to speak the same language – in the creative business, the tool to use is the creative brief.

Every successful collaboration out there proves that it is possible for clients and creatives to meet eye to eye – with fewer frustrations and stellar results.

How have you bridged the divide between art and commerce, and what were the results? We’d love for you to share your experiences here.

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