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28th October 2020 |
Studio Cribs: Creative Conscience founder Chrissy Levett



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Let’s start easy. For those Gluggers who’ve never heard of you: how did you get started within the industry, and how did you end up founding Creative Conscience?


Ok…so I was pants at school, I mostly drew in lessons but luckily ended up on a foundation course, studied mostly illustration/print at degree and then went on to the Royal College of Art for a Masters in graphics & communication. I worked as an independent designer for my entire career until 2009 when I took a role as Creative Director for a branding agency here in London. I had worked abroad in my twenties, some of which was in the developing world – we used graphic design to educate - to help save lives, something some of my fellow students didn’t believe was possible, maybe that’s what drove me to do it - to prove them wrong. I ended up back in London designing brands that weren’t serving society or our planet. This started to make me feel more and more empty – I was unhappy, depressed even. I made loads of poor decisions, but some of those decisions lead me onto a course. A community building course and there the idea of Creative Conscience came to life, that was 2012.


In your Ted x Talk, you speak about the importance of vulnerability. How do you believe being vulnerable can best serve us throughout our lives?


A mantra I’ve adopted is ‘great things happen to brave people”. I can’t remember where I heard it now but it takes being brave to be vulnerable. If you can be vulnerable it will serve you well, it can disarm many tricky situations - it can make you free, no pretence just you, with your strengths and weakness. If you can let go of caring deeply about what others think and simply be yourself – warts and all, life really can work on a different level – it’s magical. Not always easy but magical never the less.


Dyslexia seems to be relatively commonplace amongst creative types. What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone who may be struggling with their dyslexia?


Own it. Be brave, admit that you struggle with certain things – it will save you so much time and energy if you do. Trying to be something that you’re not, is exhausting and simply doesn’t work. We are all different with different minds. We can celebrate differences more easily now and if people don’t ‘get’ this then they are not ‘your people’ move forward. 


How do you believe creativity can best be used to solve current global problems?


It’s time for new systems. Our current systems are broken and unsustainable. Our education – seriously flawed and outdated, so too our economics, capitalism in its current model, our society has lost its way, what we value and celebrate is misguided. Creative thinkers are key to building new systems, new ways of seeing the world, we are vital to reimagining our world and the way we see it. A fairer, healthier and more sustainable world. That’s what Creative Conscience is built on and we have 1000’s of concepts, ideas, examples of how this can be done. Come to this event if you want to see the proof here.


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Has working as a creative director affected how you see the world?


Yes, of course, it’s influenced me and I believe we are all creative, it’s part of being human. Leading teams of creatives you have the opportunity to pass on insights, skills, knowledge, you have a responsibility to your teams and the client, to share and nurture. Regards companies well they are mostly based and driven by an old and broken economic system. Sell more stuff – answer to stakeholders. If we can shift this to only building companies that put people and planet first then we can change the system. We know it’s possible because successful companies like this exist – we just need this to be the norm. With the rise of social enterprise - it has and is changing, not quickly enough. To quote Nelson Mandela ‘Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world’ so if we can educate the world, - the public, reach critical mass (and fast) - then we have a chance. 


What’s the best part about what you do? 


Positively changing the world, for sure and being part of a community. Creating, teaching, inspiring, giving people the tools and sharing ideas, concepts, that can change behaviours and lives. Getting people to see what’s possible and helping them get there. 


Do you have a favourite campaign you’ve been a part of? Why? 


No, there are so many. Over the last 8 years, we have received 1000’s of creative projects from people all over the world. Every single project has had a social and environmental impact at its core. I couldn’t possibly name one.


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Are there any other companies in the world currently who are taking interesting strides to implement a ‘creativity for good’ approach? 


Lots, yet not enough. Check out ‘B-Corporation’ is a great model for business. L&Co our sister agency is certified, B Corp. It’s a system we’ve been following for some years. It came from the States but is Global now. Look it up. Companies that are B Corp registered are different and are changing the face of business, but at the end of the day real change needs to come from legislation. 


How can creatives make a difference?


We can imagine a different world. We can see different ways of doing things. We don’t think laterally and that’s exactly what the world needs right now, difference – different systems, different ideas, different products, different materials, different business’, different everything. It’s not working. So how can WE change it? We can use our creativity to build these things. To educate and communicate, that’s what we can do, but we need to get involved. So get involved in change, be in ACTION, without action it's pointless.


What has been your defining moment, either professionally, or personally within 2019?


Designing a set of tools that help creative thinkers to change their world and the world around them. For sure the best thing. 


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Ok, and last but not least! 

Best book on creativity: ‘The Art of Looking Sideways’ Alan Fletcher

Best book on careers or business: ‘the power of vulnerability’ Brené Brown

Best website for inspiration: we loved this Report from Kickstarter, it was inspiring in the often dull space of business
reporting. 

Best product I’ve seen lately: not lately but I love ‘Head Space’ and use it daily.

The best podcast I’ve listened to recently: Russell Brand ‘Under the skin’ (free before he moved to Luminary)

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given: When you disagree – take yourself out of ‘your’ story, ‘your’ perspective and try to understand what’s going on for the other person or group of people to make them feel and think that way.

Who'd you like to see a Glug interview with: I’d like to see a Glug interview with Paul Barlow speak design and the ‘B Corp’ movement.

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