An oral story from… Inventive Evaluation

When you look back at the first edition of Creative Review in the spring of 1980, it's surprising how relevant many of its stories are in today's creative landscape – whether it's the obsession with celebrities, the power of posters, or why most Radio advertising is so terrible in the long run. In many ways, the creative industry has changed dramatically over the past 40 years, and as a result, the role of creative review.

For the magazine's 40th birthday, we brought together well-respected old and new editors (of course via Zoom), including founding editor Torin Douglas, Jeremy Myerson, Lewis Blackwell, Patrick Burgoyne and current editor Eliza Williams. Here they discuss the beginnings of CR, how the magazine has followed broader developments in media, technology and the amalgamation of various creative practices and influences and why its mission will always remain the same: to celebrate the best in creativity.

Aimée McLaughlin: How would you describe the creative industry you entered as editors and the role of CR in this context?

Torin Douglas: None of you will remember that Creative Review started on a quarterly basis and was initially referred to as Marketing Week's Creative Review. The whole point was that we started Marketing Week in competition with Campaign. I told the editor of Marketing Week that we are marketing-oriented, but we don't do anything with creativity. Why don't we make a creative magazine and can then compete with Campaign for creative jobs and advertising as well as for readers.

The editors on zoom. Clockwise from top left: Patrick Burgoyne, Aimee McLaughlin, Lewis Blackwell, Torin Douglas, Eliza Williams and Jeremy Myerson

It was (Bat & # 39; s first art director) Bob Bateman's idea to have a square format. The Marketing Week had a fixed identity and should look like Time Magazine with the red border. It should appeal to customers, not agencies, and this was our way of not only addressing agencies like Campaign, but also designing companies. We did that for four to six issues, then I convinced them we could try it monthly.

What I absolutely didn't understand was that it would be so successful 40 years later, and that's nothing about me. I just had the idea of ​​doing it and then passed it on to people who could actually do the job right.

Jeremy Myerson: I joined Creative Review, I think it was 1984. I replaced Brian Davis, who edited the campaign. He was an advertising specialist and was very close to the creative departments of advertising agencies. I came out of the design magazine published by the Design Council and the decision to have someone with a design background instead of an advertising background was very conscious since I arrived at the time of the big design boom of the early 1980s.

Very early in my tenure as editor, I told Michael Chamberlain (the publisher) that there is a real opportunity for a weekly design magazine, as all design ads appear in the background of Campaign and do not write a word about it. What's going on in the design community? In my second year as an editor, I actually worked on a secret project to develop Design Week.

It should appeal to customers, not agencies, and this was our way of not only addressing agencies like Campaign, but also designing companies

Lewis Blackwell: In the spring of 1986, I got a role as an assistant editor at Creative Review. It was a kind of trick Jeremy did, so I joined the secret project. The following spring, Creative Review needed an editor, or something had to happen because Design Week took up a lot of money and readership. I thought we should definitely build on not being just a trading title – just writing about companies and their profits and the new work – and trying to consider something more.

We started getting over the creative process. We came out of the recession on the other side of the 90s and it started to develop digitally and the way of reporting started to change. It became very exciting, I would say, in the mid-90s, with the changing nature of work and who was doing the work.


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