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Probing the creative mind #4 – Mick Brigdale

Mick Brigdale Art Director at St Lukes

The fourth in a series of posts poking around in the murky minds of creative people. Copywriters, Art Directors, Creative Directors, Graphic Designers, Photographers, Illustrators, they’re an odd, mysterious bunch – or are they? Introducing Mick Brigdale, Art Director at St Lukes.

Hi Mick, thanks for taking part in this series of blog posts. Stretch out on the couch and we’ll begin. First, tell me about where you work and what it is you do.
I’ve been at St Lukes for nearly 4 years – technically I’m an Art Director, but I write a lot of copy, do a lot of presentations and look after some of the junior teams.

What first got you into a creative career?
Failing everything practical at school. They said – “perhaps Art College would be his sort of thing. But please, not here for A levels”.

What’s your go-to starting point to get the creative process moving?
A positive attitude is the only place to start. Whatever the brief (and I’ve seen some horrors), there’s no point in starting it if you don’t believe you can get something good out of it. It might not be the most creative end-result sometimes – but even then I’ll learn something from the process.

So, have you ever rejected or refused to work on a brief?
Only once – I was working on the Tambrands account (Tampax) and they asked me to redesign the insertion instruction leaflet. It just wouldn’t have turned out well.

Who have you worked with along the way who has influenced you?
Everyone. That starts with my Mum who had the idea that got me my first job. You take what you want/can from the inspiring ones (too numerous to mention by name) and you leave as much as possible from the assholes (again numerous in this industry).

What ingredients make up the ideal client?
Trust, trust and trust. Can’t do anything well without it.

Do they need to meet and trust you, or is it enough that they trust the agency?
It’s certainly easier to relate to people when you deal with them face-to-face. We once had a Korean client who we dealt with on conference calls. She sounded so aggressive – we were terrified every call. We eventually met her on the shoot in Cape Town – she bounded up to us with the biggest smile on her face and said hello, and how nice it was to meet us at last. She said it in the same abrupt tone we were used to on the phone – but in a split-second we realised that’s just the way she spoke. She’s still a friend today. So, I don’t think it’s essential to meet, but it helps.

Tell me one thing you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to other creatives.
Always have an opinion (but it’s OK to change it).

What three pieces of work do you wish were in your portfolio?
Southern Comfort – ‘Whatever’s Comfortable’. As single minded as a TV ad can be. You don’t get more comfortable than a portly guy whose comfortable in budgie smugglers, with 70’s hair, strolling down a beach in bad shoes. Brave too.

Honda ‘GRRRR’ – who wouldn’t want it in their book?

I saw a spec book years ago and the first scamp in the book was a poster for Atrixo hand cream. It was simply a picture of (once-famous glove puppet) Sooty wincing, and a pack shot in the corner, Still makes me smile.

What one thing would make your job easier or better?
More time spent doing stuff with real people. How can our work resonate with them if we spend 10 hours a day online in a Soho office? Fresh ideas and perspectives are out there…

If you weren’t an Art Director, what would you be?
I’d love to own a gallery – but I’d struggle to sell anything I like.

Mick, it’s been a pleasure. Look forward to bumping into you on the streets of Soho, hunting down your next idea.

If you enjoyed this, why not try probing the creative minds of:

Alex Bamford, Photographer
Riz Jaffer, Graphic Designer
Mick Sands, Writer/Producer