Juliet Street on how to prosper with creative ambiguity
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Brand Strategist / Creative Director, BirdBrain/Luminosity
Consumption: Soy ChaiLatte
I don’t have to wait long for the sheer vivacious force of nature called Juliet Street to arrive.
Initially, we decide to catch up and talk about client progress. When I ask her spontaneously whether she would be willing to be my initial coffee ground #1, she smoothly switches from being the Creative Director to the sincere thinking private person, whom I can ask about her outlook on life.
I’ve known Juliet only since January, and we are both surprised at our similarity in careers. Juliet and I both studied design and then decided to specialise on opposite ends at agency and customer sites. In the middle is our customer, we literally look for common goals and outcomes from different angles.
Juliet is Brand Strategist / Creative Director with branding and digital agency BirdBrain, and I’m currently contracted by a large corporate customer of theirs to roll out a brand refresh together with her agency team.
‘There are three things I get a kick out of,’ she reckons. ’First, the investigative brand workshops with the client where we discover the secret recipe that makes them different.
‘The second buzz I get is working as a high-level coach to A-team designers to create truly unique, high-quality solutions. I love the magic that happens where I help the designer to push through the tough spots in the creative; I’m like a sporting coach. I’m very protective of nurturing design talent and my team’s design passion.
‘Over the years I've learned to absolutely love a blank canvas; not knowing what the outcome’s going to be at the start. When you push past the obvious and through the uncertainty, that’s when you see the truly great work emerge.
I try to help designers to embrace the blank canvas, too, and see that it’s not the absence of things; it’s the opportunity for everything.
‘The third buzz is to translate back to the client what we’ve workshopped together. I love that because it’s the moment the light bulbs come on, and the client can start to see the vision of the ‘future them’ come to life and trust the journey we are taking them on.’
‘Design thinkers are incredibly agile; we are not linear in learning, rethinking, adapting, we are always in flux and we thrive on it.
I have honed that agile process over time, first over many years as a business owner myself, and later as Creative Director at BirdBrain.’
Juliet jokes about it, but I think she should start writing a book about the topic.
We keep walking along the river on a hot spring day. Juliet replies carefully when I ask her how she can maintain the drive for what she’s doing.
‘My passion and commitment to what I do never disappear. Keeping me in the zone comes from preserving the energy and believing I deliver my best results for each client every time. This is the best me, living this vocation.’
‘I’m seeing the advent of tech waves coming at us rapidly, and how it changes what we do but we have to be careful, if we don’t preserve the design process we are not true creatives anymore, we are merely machines.
I’m passionate about optimising the process, the person, the moment, life… so we can adapt to whatever is thrown at us and it will still stay relevant and creative.’
‘Ultimately I know I deliver better working in tandem with other people. And people like you help me articulate and grow.’
The Common Ground
Collaboration makes us who we are. We are both better in teams.
It’s ok to embrace uncertainty and not having fallback plans for everything, it’s the foundation for creating change if we permit it
It's important for energy to flow and optimising your process will allow that flow
Instead of fear, we gain confidence when uncertainty becomes a part of the process.