When we hosted D&AD Creative Labs last year, we knew straight away that we had to get them back for a second year. Made up of a killer mix of workshops, evening events and talks from some of the most well-respected creative practitioners out there, D&AD Creative Labs are hands-on learning and immersive experiences which kickstart creativity. Last year, we left positively buzzing with new ideas, ready to make better work. The effect this time round was no different!

People's minds were pushed, pulled, exploded and turned inside out during this year’s three-day extravaganza. Our volunteer Whitespacers descended the stairs to EventSpace equipped with pencils (yellow of course!) and more importantly, open minds. Here’s a quick run-down of what they learned from each session…

Day 1: Writing for Advertising

This kick-off session was run by Will Audrey, who has an impressive and lengthy history in copywriting, and who holds the title of Creative Director at Big Fish in London.

Will led his creative session attendees through his (somewhat unusual!) tried and tested techniques which can aid the process of copywriting. We undertook his tasks with gusto, which ranged from crafting three word stories to writing postcards. And not just any old postcards. His particular exercise required us to write a postcard from the viewpoint of a wooden spoon, with the intended recipient being… a wooden spoon. We did warn you they were unusual!

Will’s techniques were a fantastic way of showing us how to integrate a brief in many different ways. Over the course of the day, he presented a selection of examples of past and present writing to us, which reinforced the points he was making.

The day was packed with really fun, engaging, and interesting exercises which forced us all to think about writing in many different ways. We’re not entirely sure how our clients would feel if we wrote all their website copy in three word sentences though…

Day 2: The Business of Ideas

In this workshop, Patrick Collister of Ogilvy and Google fame challenged the assembled group of industry professionals from across Scotland to understand creativity and to develop creative methods. The aim? To yield ideas that will sell.

Along with plenty words to the wise, Patrick shared with us his toolbox of techniques and methods, road-tested during his tenures at the most creative agencies in the world.

Quacking like ducks was only one of the many ways Patrick got us out of our shells (or at least got him laughing!), which freed each participant up to generate drawings, words, analogies and more that can spark the generation of and interesting ideas.

Patrick’s session made for an energising, whirlwind experience. The result? We all left feeling ready to generate winning ideas. Or at the very least, to get shot like ducks in the process. Either way, we are ready!

Day 3: How to Get the Best Out of Your Creative Team

It was the job of Nadya Powell, founding partner of Dare and Lost Boys agencies, to enlighten us into how leaders can motivate and manage their creative teams.

You may be thinking that a lot of cake, flattery, and even harsh language would do the trick – but you’d be wrong. Very wrong… in fact, if you DO think that, then we definitely recommend that you book yourself onto this course!

Firstly, you’ll set out to discover and identify the personal values that you bring to work every day. You’ll then consider how to express and demonstrate these values to others. Finally, you’ll define the objectives of your team. Taking all of these things into consideration and eventually bringing them together helped us to realise the ways in which we can support and enable our teams to achieve their objectives.

It all sounds very deep and broody, but Nadya’s light delivery, combined with the numerous physical exercises we undertook during the course, resulted in a fast-paced and engaging session.

These courses are always a revelation, and this one was no different. The fact is, you simply don’t get the opportunity to sit among your counterparts from other agencies to counsel and cajole each other. This course allowed us a rare chance to do so, and to support each other as we all journey through Adland seniority together.

Oh, did we mention there was cake? Well, it’s a great motivator, isn't it?

Roundtable Discussion

During the hectic three day schedule, D&AD facilitated a roundtable discussion with education professionals, teachers and creative industry leaders. The topic of choice? Getting more young people engaged and made aware of our amazing industry. We discussed and argued about the current education system and how we think it could be better when it comes to creative education. Many, many notes were taken, so watch this space… 

New Blood Mixer

It was a pleasure to host both industry professionals and aspiring young people alike for D&AD's New Blood Mixer. Students and graduates looking to break into the creative scene came along for an intense one hour portfolio speed dating frenzy. Leading creative directors from around Scotland gave their honest feedback to over 50 people in what can only be described as a cacophony of creativity!

Round 3 of D&AD Creative Labs is already planned for 2018.

This article was collectively written by Chris Davey, Tim Gallant, Neil Ritson, and Neil Walker.

Image credit for Days 1-3: D&AD