Spotlight On: Andy Harris

We’re back again with another fab Creativity Talks – the blog that proves ‘Creativity Changes Everything’!

This week, we spoke to Joint Head of Design Andy Harris, whose expertise has furnished some of M&C’s finest ads over the last (almost) decade…

Andy’s Fact File:

  • Morning alarm: “6AM – it takes me about an hour to get in, but there’s lots of child wrangling before then.”
  • Song of the week: “My Spotify has been very destroyed by children, I need to restart it I think! The kids are always listening to the latest films, Trolls World Tour is the current one. I did listen to The Black Keys this morning though, ‘Wild Child’.”
  • Ad of the week: “There’s a nice Royal Navy ad I saw. A simple print ad, but it had really nice photography and really cool, simple graphics. It’s for drone pilots, so you see the view from the ship and the drone, it’s like the whole image curves around.”

We work in advertising. What’s your viewpoint on the strength of advertising in the world we currently live in?

“As an advertiser, it’s not as free as it used to be. I think there was a lot more license to do truly creative stuff a few years back, and it’s been a gradual shift. There were a lot more campaigns and single ads, which was exciting. Now clients rely more on brand guidelines, and with things being so trackable I think people can get lost. If they see that something has loads of clicks, they think it’s good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it was a good ad, or that it makes people buy the product. On the other hand, there’s [still] a lot of interesting stuff going on. There’s different media – a lot of new digital is coming out all the time – which is interesting to explore.”

Which ad captures creativity within advertising to you?

“When I first started at Adam&Eve DDB we did a lot of Volkswagen ads that were real simple, classy stuff, and that’s always stood out to me. The same with an old Polo advert, which had a load of police hiding behind a Polo car – so awesome. The Sony Bravia ads and Cadbury’s Gorilla ads always stood out too. They kind of sum up how advertising used to be.”

If you could teach yourself any skill to help you in your role – what would it be? And why?

“I think, as a designer, it’s an interesting one. You start off hiding behind your Mac, and you suddenly reach a point where you’re thrown out into being more forward-facing with clients. That’s always a weird flip as a designer, so it would probably be something like being a better public speaker. The whole Zoom thing means designers can be quickly called in too, making us more client-facing than before.”

The Printing Press is considered the most important invention of all time, and, as a designer, you’ll likely have a knack for exactly that: designing! Is there anything you wish you’d had designed or invented? It could be an object, building – anything.

“I think for me it would be a simple, classic logo or icon. Something like the TfL logo. It would be pretty cool to be that person. Milton Glaser made the ‘I ♥ New York’ icon. To be the person who comes up with something like that would be really awesome. It’s such a simple little mark, but it’s a great legacy.”

And finally, we know inspiration can come from anywhere – you don’t need to work in an agency to see it in action. What book/podcast/shows have had you thinking recently? Guilty pleasures welcome!

I do like a podcast. I walk up from Victoria so I listen to quite a few podcasts, it’s enough time to get into something. The ‘Lazarus Heist’ was a good podcast all about the time Sony was hacked after releasing ‘The Interview’. There’s no sure evidence, but they’re convinced it was North Korea’s [supposed] hacker regiment. ‘Brixton Flames on the Frontline’ was good as well, all about the events in Brixton that led to the 80’s riots. It basically looked at the black community in England at that time, and the terrible way they were treated, and how it led up to those events and what it created. It gives you a fresh perspective. I stopped reading for a while – when you have young kids you always just end up falling asleep!”

If you want to listen to something like the ‘Lazarus Heist’ yourself, you can find it here:

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