This is not a rant.
This is not about how we did things back in our day.
This is about a real concern
An age concern.
Let’s put things into perspective here. With the recent and very welcome push for sexual equality, the time is also right to address the inequality of blatant ageism in design and advertising.
If you’re 18 to 30 years old, you may want to look away now. Ideas and creativity are not exclusive to the twenty somethings. Yes, you read that right.
You forget, we’ve been there and done that. In fact, don’t look at the wisps of grey hair and think we’re not still doing it. We are.
This is not a top trump competition between UX and Grant enlargers.
The key argument for the defence? Simply put: experienced creatives are still passionate but with pragmatism and discipline. More importantly, that experience brings a much bigger picture view to a brief.
Finding the balance between young and senior talent
There is definitely a right balance between hiring young and senior talent. That’s where senior talent is essential – guiding, mentoring, coaching, bloody well inspiring.
Peter Saville, Neville Brody, Paula Scher, Trevor Beattie, Stefan Sagmeister, Dave Trott, George Lois – amazing creatives that the whole industry, including the “kids”, look up to and yet the youngest one there is a young 55.
The past couple of years or so, I have witnessed this inequality first hand both in an agency role and when applying for other perm or freelance roles. I won’t name and shame just yet. I’m saving that for my memoirs when I truly become old and cantankerous.
And it’s not just me. I hear this every day from my many contemporaries. One very experienced freelance copywriter I know, looked after a luxury brand for several months with huge success only to be suddenly replaced by a junior team who pretty quickly realised they were out of their depth. If it ain’t broke…
So my message to creative industry is relook at creatives who are over 40, even older, and think about what they can bring to the table beyond Werther’s Originals.
You will get proven people who can bring experienced understanding and behavioural knowledge to your new technology – surely the perfect complement.
Well, I’m off to finish a design for a mobile AI chatbot. Seriously!
Louis Loizou is a Freelance Creative Director.
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