Editor's Letter, June 2008

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As a counterpoint to the unbearable lightness of summer generally and the Cannes fest in particular, we offer in this issue a hearty thought meal on an array of weighty topics. Among them, the issue of sustainability in the brand world.

Just under a year ago Valerie Casey founded the Designers Accord to mobilize the design community to share knowledge and resources on environmentally and socially responsible practices. Casey fills us in on how far the creative community has come and the degree of marketer movement on the issue.

Since launch, DA has gone from 450 to 100,000 participants from 100 countries. Casey says the next DA chapter will be a web platform, scheduled to launch in beta this summer. The web resource will assemble all the design wisdom that's shared informally among designers, via emails, chats over drinks and at conferences and provide a place for the community to share case studies, ask questions and post resources and opinions.

But marketers must embrace a new, longer term approach to products and processes for significant change to happen. Designer Bruce Mau sums things up handily, noting "we're now experiencing an explosion of innovation that hasn't happened since the beginning of the last century. This is a paradigm shift. The people who will win will be the people who figure it out most effectively, who integrate it most completely and who lead the way." In the end, says Mau, "design is the method by which we will overcome the great challenges we face. If we don't make it beautiful, we won't have a future. We need design and we need to apply it in the critical areas of our ecology. It's fundamentally optimistic; designers don't have the luxury of cynicism. Being negative is not being productive. It frees design from the realm of the visual to be able to think big picture about the cycle of life."

Elsewhere, more key summer reading on the issue of talent. As Starcom Mediavest chief Laura Desmond notes in her POV piece, the future of this industry inarguably rests on the finding and nurturing of young talent. And with that in mind, we take a look at the state of digital talent recruitmenT. Specifically, how is the ad industry luring the best and brightest hardcore tech talent when a world of equity, lifestyle perks and tasty locally-sourced cuisine await on the campus of a web or software company? We might be getting a little ahead of ourselves even probing this issue in the first placeā€”it's not as if there are battalions of these kinds of developers and tech wizards running the halls of Big Advertising, and one wonders if they'd find an appropriate place within a typical agency should they chose to join one. But the future of brand creativity will doubtless belong to those with some applications nous, so we check in with tech talent and those who love them on the wants and needs of this segment of the talent pool. Turns out there's lots of advice there for approaching any sort of young talent recruitment.

But all is not so earnest. Perhaps the most fascinating thing in the issue this month is the unprecedented peek into the psyches of the otherwise always in control masters of the directing universe. You know their work, but what strange motivations feed it? We asked 10 of the most compelling directing talents to share their inner selves and reveal a secret. The results are by turns shocking, touching and unsettling.
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