3/21/2016

The Future of Creativity: New Tools for a New Generation



Robust web-based design tools are disrupting the creative industries at large, compounded by the rise of ‘robots’ taking over the mundane tasks of production.

Next door is home to Matchstic, Atlanta’s premiere brand identity firm. Craig Johnson, President and Co-Founder, meets us at the entry and welcomes us into a large open space, ringed by a library, offices, conference room, kitchen and loft. We head up a short flight of stairs where Craig tells us more about the firm, from its genesis to a future of growth. “In the beginning we were a general graphic design firm, but after a few years we began to realize that we had to focus our business on our core strengths. We couldn’t be everything for everyone.” They began as many creative firms, starting small and growing slowly as business opportunities continued to blossom into larger and larger projects. Within a few years, Matchstic brought acute focus to ‘starting fires’ through the strategic development of brand identity and crafting a brand’s visual language. They staked their claim early on, and have stuck to it over the years.

Like many creative firms we have met during our journey, Matchstic is wrestling with next steps for long-term sustainable growth to maximize earning potential, create greater value for their team and generate positive impact for their larger community. All of which is just good business.

Larger projects, expanding beyond regional clients, broadening capabilities, strengthening talent and avoiding the work of robots are all key elements to their future growth. Yes, we discussed rising above the robots. Only partly kidding, Craig made it clear that
“We’ve always tried to stay away from work that might easily be automated. If a robot can do it, we should head in a different direction.” While we laughed at the topic of discussion, this reality is upon us. The creative industries are leaping into a great new frontier. One rife with challenges, yet presenting boundless opportunity for those willing to stake their claim in the great unknown.

The production of ideas will be given over to the robots. Or at least the algorithmic, software robots that are already rearing their heads in retargeting ads across Facebook feeds and Google search results the world wide. TheGrid.io is a prime example of robots designing and building future websites. Based on the numbers listed on their sign up page (at the time of this writing), one can easily calculate TheGrid.io has generated $6.1 million in pre-sales alone. A staggering sum for the promise of no longer needing a web designer nor developer.Persado recently raised $21 million in venture capital to quite literally build robots to write our content—well digital robots to be accurate. (This article was typed by human hands, I promise.) While Persado’s parameters and constraints are defined by a human, the production is executed by the algorithm....more