As Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic there was a diverse ray of emotions; some were sceptical, some were worried, and nearly everyone was panic buying toilet roll (we still don’t understand this one, to be honest).
The month of March seemed to last for-e-v-e-r but if you blinked, you missed April. Between the rainbows appearing in windows and the Zoom quizzes that seemed to happen every night it struck us that our world has a way of throwing up the positive out of the negative and it made us wonder how we can contribute.
And this got us thinking, and looking, at creativity in general. Some might think creativity is reserved for the ‘creative types’, perhaps found in the ball pit within our advertising agency in Cardiff’s One Central Square or perusing art galleries in Soho.
But, when you look – especially over the past few months – there have been examples of true creativity coming from all over the place; on our feeds, and in the stories we hear.
From 7-year-old runners taking on marine style commando challenges to whole streets joining for a sing–along every week – there’s been people everywhere using creativity to connect, problem solve and most importantly, keep us all smiling during these bizarre times.
We love #CelebratingCreativity, so our idea was to take over a billboard space in our hometown, Cardiff, and adorn it with ads thanking people for the creative ways that they are responding to the coronavirus pandemic – each one imagined artistically by one of our agency creatives.
So, here’s how we celebrated them, in the best way we know how…
Not all heroes wear capes, but lot’s wear scrubs.
We kicked off this campaign with a nomination from Radio X presenter, Polly James, who wanted to celebrate her sister and best friends Wendy, Lauren and Amie who are helping the frontline fight against Covid-19 and whilst doing that, they’re doodling on their masks each day to remind anxious patients they’re human underneath.
This design was imagined by our Web Designer, Alex Colborn who says “I wanted to represent the theme of heroics with a vibrant pop art aesthetic made famous by artists Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.”
“I cut out each image and placed them against a bright halftone backdrop with the copy taking place in the top left and bottom right corners to closely resemble the look, feel and structure of a comic book.”
The Canton Community Singers
Inspired by Italians singing from their balconies – neighbours in the Canton area of Cardiff started a weekly sing-along to raise spirits during the lockdown. The organiser of the group, Miranda Webb was nominated for her creativity by members of the singing community.
This story was bought to life by our Art Director, Leanne Bisby, who says “With our streets, towns and city centres missing their usual vibrancy, bright, uplifting murals have had a resurgence. They help share stories creatively, show personal messages of hope and gratitude and bring light to the dark situation the world is currently in.”
“I wanted to use this wall mural style in my piece, vibrantly showcasing the inspiring Canton Community Singers, whilst keeping a personal, handcrafted touch.”
Mindfulness through letter writing
The next nomination came from creative network, Creative Cardiff, who recognised Abdul Shayek and Fio’s creativity with their #FioPen2PaperChallenge which aims to revive the art of letter writing to promote mindfulness.
This design was imagined by our Motion Graphic Artist, Emma Davies who said she wanted to create a bright and eye-catching piece to bring attention to their great initiative and used abstract shapes as a motif to represent the mindfulness that comes with creative writing.
‘This is my supper, now show me yours!’
‘This is my supper, now show me yours!’ is a Facebook group set up by Angharad Roche who created it during lockdown as a way to connect with others by sharing delicious (and sometimes, disastrous) meals. This group made all of us at S3 smile and became a real community that we thought deserved recognition so our Lead Motion Graphic Artist, Jay Baulch took on the task to create a design for this.
Jay says, “I felt the image I would create would have to reflect the lighthearted, joyful spirit of the group. Placing their coveted Cherry Bakewell award centre stage and surrounding it with other tasty sweets I wanted to make sure that not only was Angharad featured but also the wonderful community she has built.”
Two tough ladies
Next up was a huge shout out to Clarissa and Elza who took their lunch and bingo club on the road, providing a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable. Even better? On VE day they jumped on their bikes in forties fashion to raise a smile (and a few tears of joy.). The world needs more like them!
Imagined by our Senior Graphic Designer, Tom Wilding who explains how he “wanted to show the ladies and their energy cutting through the more muted, dull background of the lockdown and the loneliness it’s made a lot of people feel, showing how they’re making a difference.”
Next, we celebrated another dynamic female duo – Ciara and Seanna Hamill, who were worried their key worker mum couldn’t buy hand sanitizer so they got creative and produced it themselves! Their new brand, SanHanzUK has since given to health workers for free and sold to help support food banks. That’s why we tasked our CGI Artist Kasparas Mikutis to bring to life their mission with his illustrations and typography, inspired by the SanHanz branding to give them the shout out they deserve.
We don’t want no scrub
Scrub a Dub Dub Facebook Group were the next to get a shout out for their heroic efforts as they used their sewing expertise to make scrubs for frontline workers when they needed them most.
The best part about this is the wonderful community they created whilst helping others. The group was much bigger than providing frontline workers with scrubs and masks as those involved showed genuine care for one another as they gifted fabric and shared their own personal sewing patterns for others to use. Well done ladies!
Our Media Production Manager, Ben Horder says, “My efforts were to maintain a tactile design anchored with the use of typical icons of the industry such as the knitting needle and sewing machine. A simplistic composition allowed for focus to be placed on the messaging highlighting the great work of Scrub a Dub Dub Penarth.”
Run, boy, run!
Making us smile during our ‘lockdown wobble days’ was the story of Casper a 7-year-old on a mission to raise money for his local hospital. He completed a 30-miler commando challenger after being inspired by the Royal Marine endurance test. We celebrated his creativity by putting him on a billboard to encourage him as he took on his final mile – which he absolutely smashed by the way.
Steve Lewis, our Design and Web Lead who created the design says,” The story of Casper running a mile a day for 30 days was hugely inspiring. At such a young age, to think of doing this to raise money is a testament to his character and attitude. As it stands, he’s passed the £10k mark on his just giving page – amazing!”
“I wanted to create a visual which was colourful, explosive whilst laying the focus on Casper. Thinking on how Nike produce visuals across their advertising, I developed a colour palette to compliment the image of Casper to ensure it really stands out on the digital screen. The font and broken shapes combine to create a visual that compliments the energy and drive of Casper.”
Finally, our final billboard recognized Dr Michael Ward from Swansea University for his creative initiative, the CoronaDiaries Project. A project that features a glimpse into people’s state of mind and hopes the accounts will act as a time capsule to help prepare for – and control – potential future problems.
This artwork was created by our Digital Account Executive, Gareth Pitt who swapped Google ads for Adobe this week to create our final billboard design. Gareth says, “The aim of the piece was to celebrate the project that Dr Michael Ward had created by designing a time capsule featuring the items that have been popular through this lockdown period.”
2020’s been a year of many things… and we’re only halfway through!
But one thing’s for sure; it’ll mark the year of unsung heroes.
Those who have brought us together in ways we couldn’t possibly have imagined way back when in the cold days of December 2019.
For #TeamS3, it has reminded us once more that creativity is not just found in one special place, person or detail.
It is found wherever we are looking for it…
And it is everywhere.
Thank you for #CelebratingCreatvity with us.