October 22, 2015

THE ROLE OF VISUAL ARTS IN MODERN COMMUNICATIONS

LEWIS recently hosted a session at the Brand2Global Conference in London – a two day event for senior marketers. It was co-presented by Dean Russell, Creative Strategy Director at LEWIS, and Ambika Subramaniam and Jheni Arboine from Chelsea College of Arts.

Instead of presenting a run-of-the-mill, text-heavy Powerpoint, the aim was to do something original and unconventional, which was creative in both title and activity. The session was designed to spark creativity amongst the audience. ‘Exploring The Role of Visual Arts In Modern Communications’ was a 45-minute session packed with a series of activities that challenged conventional thinking around corporate creativity.

  • “I’m too busy to be creative”
  • “I don’t have time”
  • “There isn’t much scope for creativity in my sector/industry”

These are all common excuses, particularly in B2B, but not necessarily valid ones. LEWIS’s session aimed to prove that in fact it takes very little to unlock a new way of thinking, by simply incorporating the visual arts into our everyday work.

The approach integrated global PR & marketing learnings with the artistic talents and insights of Chelsea College of Art.

Attendees, including industry leaders from brands that ranged from Gotta and Cisco to Google and Facebook, were encouraged to tap into their creative right-brains from the outset.

On entry to the room, everyone chose a colour that reflected their current mood and were then seated in groups accordingly.

Dean Russell began the session by showing the video of the selection perception test by Simons & Chabris (watch below). This was used to highlight the role that perception plays in our every day lives. Sometimes what one person can see, is completely missed by others, which is why challenging what we think we know is so important.



The groups were then provided with a set of unusual words that they would typically never use on a day-to-day basis, and asked to create concrete poetry. This allowed them to take abstract story telling to another level – exploring the use of words and mental visualisation outside of the traditional approaches usually employed in business.

It was possibly a world first, with global marketers from leading brands, working together to create poetic shapes out of words they hardly recognised. The approach created an opportunity to delve into the unknown and create patterns with words. The exercise re-iterated the point that by limiting or alternating our usual resources, our approach is more creative. In fact it creates a strange kind of freedom, as it forces us to alter our way of thinking and take a different perspective we previously wouldn’t have achieved.

The session ended with a look at how the powerful world of visualisation is rapidly evolving to become fully immersive – demonstrated through the use of Google Cardboard (which we provided to all delegates). To round off the event, several participants were invited to look through the lenses and be transported to different places around the world. Along with a few shocked faces and entertaining reactions, it doubled as a good metaphor to emphasise the idea that nowadays it takes very little to see the world totally differently.

While the session was a lot of fun for all involved, the approaches were tied to creative processes artists use across the world. Such activities to change the way we think and look at the world, can be easily transferred into  into business. In doing so, marketers may find they can think more creatively and shift the way their brands connect with their audience. (Charlotte Johnston / http://blog.lewispr.com/)