The Blank Page Manifesto

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T HE B LAN K PAGE M ANIFE STO To get good at anything, you have to start with the basics. In advertising, that’s called coming up with a great idea. Fifty years ago before the internet, before guerilla marketing was a term, before anyone aspired to a Titanium Lion, people were coming up with great ideas. The best ones were clear, direct, engaging and memorable. Those are the hallmarks of a great idea no matter what the media. In a hundred years, when people are communicating with methods and media we can’t even imagine, clear, direct, engaging, and memorable ideas are still going to be crucial. Whether print has a future or not is irrelevant. Because the best way to get good at coming up with clear, direct, engaging, and memorable ideas is with a pen and paper. It’s got to be as clear as that before you move on to online content. Before you move on to product development. Before you move on to whatever it is they’ll be doing a hundred years from now. If the governments of the world joined together and declared that in effort to end deforestation, all magazines, newspapers and other printed media are henceforth and forever banned, the best way to practice coming up with many great ideas would still be on the blank page.

Portfolio schools and their students need to embrace and teach new media. And, of course, the best ones are already doing that. But whether you’re doing a twopage spread, a coaster, a three-minute infomercial, or pioneering an interactive medium that takes place on chip inside your brain, you still need a clear, direct, engaging and memorable message. And the blank page is the best place to hone that craft. Words will always need to be clear. Presentation will always need to be aesthetically appealing. And this is where the copywriters and art directors and designers begin to learn their crafts. If we want to flourish in this industry, we cannot stop at the printed page. But whether we need a print execution or not, it is a decidedly great place to begin.

Written by Greg Christensen, Art Directed by Leslie Buker

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