Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Breakthrough Thinking

Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Breakthrough Thinking

Article excerpt

Breakthrough Thinking By Thomas Vogel (HOW Books; 2014); 214 pp; ISBN: 1440333262)

"Am I Creative? Am I a Creative?"

If your students are anything like mine, they ask themselves these questions on a regular basis. These two questions are strongly linked in their minds as they struggle to pinpoint their exact career paths. The two questions are also highly limiting, as students' definitions of "creative" in both questions often focus on the production aspect of advertising, while the industry focuses on the problem-solving aspect. Students who do not self-identify as creative, then, may not feel the need to work on developing innovate solutions (such as brand strategies) to solve client problems.

Thomas Vogel's new book Breakthrough Thinking is one of the first books to discuss creativity and problem solving in a holistic way. The author describes the importance of this paradigm shift early in the book: "Creativity is no longer under the sole proprietorship of copywriters, art directors and designers." The necessity for more than a creative department and the call for a creative agency is central to this book.

Vogel is a professor at Emerson College and holds an MFA in graphic and film design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany. He was the co-founder and creative director at Communications House, International and has worked at and led creative departments at J. Walter Thompson, Grey and Lois/GGK. His active connection with the industry is clear throughout the book, particularly in its emphasis on current practice and interviews with numerous advertising professionals.

Breakthrough Thinking provides both a theoretical and practical guide to the nature of creativity. Vogel clearly communicates how the notion of creativity has changed over time, and how those changes have affected creative industries. He also clearly connects creativity to problem solving, a skill important for anyone going into the advertising field. Vogel also suggests that creativity can be learned and practiced: an idea that some traditional creative theorists may find radical. In order to support this last point, Vogel presents numerous exercises throughout the book to help students (and other readers) tap into their own creativity. Using foundational literature into creativity and creative processes and adding in perspectives from key industry creative leaders, the book presents compelling arguments as to why anyone can be more creative. …

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