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Google design chief's top tip for creatives

16 August 2015, 08:17 Matthew le Cordeur

Durban – The one thing creatives should learn when heading into the world of advertising is how to code, according to Google Creative Lab’s Steve Vranakis.

The executive creative director spoke to Loeries delegates in Durban on Friday about the importance of using technology to break down barriers and “give super powers to others”.

“Whether you end up coding, or learn how to code, I think you need to have an understanding of coding and the different languages out there,” he told Fin24 after his speech at the Loeries DStv Seminar of Creativity.

“Even if it’s not something you naturally gravitate towards, you need to have an understanding of how you can do things with different technology.”

He said Google was focussing a lot on the mobile experience. “We are designing specifically around a mobile experience,” he said. “There is a whole generation of people who will access the internet for the first time using a mobile phone. We need to be thinking of these people.”

Born to design with technology

“I am a massive proponent of technology,” he said. “I was born to Greek immigrant parents who went to Canada with very little – nothing to be honest.

“For somebody who was slightly artistic and sort of doodled and that sort of thing, (technology) allowed me to form and express my ideas, commercialise and make a living from them,” he said.

It is so important for the globe to be connected to the internet because it does not discriminate, said Vranakis. If your idea is engaging, “it doesn’t matter who you are and where you’re from”.

“That level of democratisation that technology and the internet allow for is an incredibly powerful thing,” he said.

“When you use technology to help drive your creativity, you become story tellers with super powers.”

AUDIO: Fin24 interview with Steve Vranakis

Taking down virtual barriers

To take down virtual barriers, more low-cost technology is needed with easy access to software where people can easily upload content. “All these tools to help take down those virtual and digital barriers is what drives Google,” he said.

It doesn’t matter where YouTube creators live, he explained, “the only thing that matters is (if) you’re coming out with something that people are finding interesting”.

Being able to use technology to open up the world’s most famous places, like Robben Island, to people who could never physically be able to experience it and share that experience “is pretty powerful”.

“One of the first projects I worked on was World Wonders,” he said. “There are some people who will never be able to visit the world wonders physically. A web connection on a low-cost machine or mobile phone can take you to these places and you can learn about the lives and other people’s history using technology is pretty incredible.”

SA creatives respected globally

Focusing on the Loeries and how the world perceives South Africa’s creative talent, Vranakis said South Africa had a massive amount of respect creatively and has a huge pedigree of creatives.

“Being on the (Loeries) integrated jury, I saw some fantastic work that I think will be recognised both internationally as well as locally,” he said.

“For me to be able to see stuff that taps into local market and cultural insights is incredibly useful for me and powerful, because I leave here having a better understanding of what’s happening in this region.”

The Loeries Awards that recognises the country's most creative communication and advertising projects will take place at the ICC in Durban on Saturday and Sunday evening.

Tweets from Vranakis’s speech at the Loeries:

WATCH: Steve Vranakis talks about how technology and creativity can change the world at TedX in 2012

- News24


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