Craft or Die

In an age in which we must have everything instantly, I’m thankful to work in an Industry in which Craft is still highly valued.

Graphic Designers and Art Directors seem to fiddle endlessly, obsessed with the detail. They stew over

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tiny gaps between letters (they even have a word for these gaps), the less tiny gaps between words (they have a different name for these types of gaps), and will spill their (or your) blood before diminishing their favourite gap of all, ‘white space’.

Then there are Copywriters. There’s something a bit ‘Orwell 1984’ about them. They try to reduce every possible piece of communication to its absolute minimum and simplest. It’s not quite got to “Doubleplus Good” but it can’t be long now. A copywriter will spend days, if not weeks, fiddling and prodding and pruning to see if they can say a two word phrase in one word. It’s word whittling.

An Ad agency full of bearded chaps in skinny jeans might not seem like the ideal foundation for a post about manly crafting, but it is. So an Ad agency isn’t the Carpenter’s workshop, the Blacksmith’s forge or Stone Mason’s lathe, but it shares the requisite qualities to be grouped with these super masculine crafts.

And while we’re at it, let’s throw in the Samurai too. Early on in their career(?) they would choose a discipline, archery, hand to hand combat, sword, horsemanship and more, then they would spend the rest of their life in the pursuit of perfection in that discipline. Crafty bunch.

To craft almost seems unreasonable now. “It’ll do” passes. Furniture is expected to fall to pieces sooner or later. Typos are found in every newspaper (and a lot of ads… and the odd one on this blog). Craft is the opposite of this culture. Time is irrelevant to an extent, because the aim isn’t to produce as much of something in as little time as possible, it’s to make something to the standard you are striving toward… and hell, if you don’t quite reach it this time, you’ll be that little bit better for the next attempt.

Craft is caring and passion and sweat. It’s standards. It’s setting an example. And that’s What Men Do.

A final note from the one and only Snoop Lion (neé Dogg)

“If it’s flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft.”

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