Putting the ink in think­ing

Ad­ver­tis­ing pro­fes­sor Tony Culling­ham says putting pen to pa­per en­gages our cre­ativ­ity in ways star­ing at a screen can’t hope to replicate.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - TONY CULLING­HAM Pro­gramme leader, Watford Ad School

Screen cul­ture is dam­ag­ing cre­ativ­ity.

In­creas­ingly, I see young creatives reach for their lap­tops when­ever they have a prob­lem to solve.

Hey, there are no new ideas on a screen. You’ll only find ideas that al­ready ex­ist. And you don’t want those. Do you? The com­puter is a big clut­tered cup­board, a su­per­fast post­man and a very clever pro­fes­sor. It’s not a creative tool. Not when your task is to come up with new ideas. The brain only truly ig­nites when the hand has a pen and it hov­ers over a huge pile of lovely white pa­per. Screens en­cour­age lazi­ness. Creatives sim­ply do not bring the same men­tal ef­fort to screens as they do when work­ing with pa­per.

Stud­ies from around the world show that peo­ple work­ing with screens are far more ca­sual than those work­ing with pa­per.

Pa­per de­mands more men­tal en­ergy and com­mit­ment.

In 2005, San José State Univer­sity found that stu­dents us­ing screens spent more time try­ing to take short­cuts than those work­ing with pa­per.

Their time was spent brows­ing, scan­ning and hunt­ing for key­words. The stu­dents us­ing pa­per spent more time think­ing. Their brains were more ac­tive in seek­ing out the prob­lem. Screens tire us. They emit light that drains our en­ergy, ir­ri­tates our eyes and makes us feel tired. Pa­per does the ex­act op­po­site. It re­flects nat­u­ral light. It has tex­ture, weight and beauty. Pa­per is sen­sory. The phys­i­cal as­pects of writ­ing and draw­ing on pa­per are si­mul­ta­ne­ously linked with our cog­ni­tive pro­cesses.

Our mind and body are in­ter­linked.

Stud­ies by Pro­fes­sor Anne Man­gen at the Univer­sity of Sta­vanger in Nor­way show that our brains don’t work like com­put­ers.

We don’t sense things and process the sen­sory per­cep­tions af­ter­wards. Man­gen proved that sense and process are one. And the best way of har­ness­ing this is via the medium of pa­per.

There is a close con­nec­tion be­tween what we sense and do with our bod­ies and what we un­der­stand.

Pa­per is clas­si­cal and speaks to us in a men­tal lan­guage we com­pre­hend.

It has been the creative launch pad for cen­turies, in­spir­ing Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs and David Bowie along the way.

Jean Luc-Ve­lay, a French neu­ro­phys­i­ol­o­gist, has pro­duced stud­ies show­ing that writ­ing and draw­ing by hand stim­u­lates dif­fer­ent elec­tri­cal im­pulses in the brain.

These brain im­pulses are dor­mant when we work with screens.

Which ex­plains why the smarter in­sti­tutes of learn­ing are bring­ing pa­per back into the class­room. Pa­per re­veals your very own emotional mind map. It shows you the wide roads of un­hin­dered thoughts, the side streets where you can stop to gaze at the men­tal ar­chi­tec­ture, the culs-de-sac of cu­ri­ous con­cepts and the ran­dom round­abouts that make you giddy. Pa­per gets you to your des­ti­na­tion: the big idea. And it al­lows you to un­der­stand your creative jour­ney more fully.

The next time you have a brief, shut down your lap­top and grab a lay­out pad and a marker. You’ll get more ideas. You’ll get more in­ter­est­ing ideas. And it will be more fun. And if some­one tells you that you are wast­ing too much pa­per, tell them they shouldn’t work for an ad­ver­tis­ing agency. They should work for the Forestry Com­mis­sion. (This piece was writ­ten on a big sheet of pa­per be­fore it was typed.)

“The brain only truly ig­nites when the hand has a pen and it hov­ers over a huge pile of lovely white pa­per. Screens en­cour­age lazi­ness”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.