How I got here: Matthew Shannon, executive creative director, Brash Brands

Shannon details his journey in the creative industry

Education

Education for me is not about the educational institutions I have attended. For me, education is about exploring the world of opportunity through experiences, family and friends. I always remember being drawn to creativity more than anything else. This left little doubt in my mind, that whatever I would do, it would have to involve problem solving in a creative way. From school to university, this became the lens through which I viewed the world. It is the way I consumed information and the way I expressed myself. It can be divisive or unifying, but it is always a tool to communicate with individuals globally.

My start

A man called Quentin really helped me to kick-start a career in creativity. Since then, connections have been key to my development, great colleagues and mentors. Over the past two decades this has seen me work at independents, partnerships and stock listed companies – always with creativity at the centre, creating memorable brands, campaigns and adverts. I have worked with some of the world’s most influential creatives over those two decades across all ability levels. From intern to creative director, I realised that my network is one of the most important components in my development.

Highs and lows

Working at Getty Images as the business model for digital photography changed was a challenge, along with being at BP when the oil disaster happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Both became challenging overnight and we had to adapt, both strategically and creatively. It was difficult but you have to embrace it. Move quickly, think differently and you’ll find that a rethink can be liberating. Looking at the world and realising that creativity can effect change is great. Working in different countries and different cultures opens the mind. Sydney, Mumbai, Beijing, Berlin, Dubai, Prague, New York and London – it is all about approach and ideas. Seeing your work and making people stop and think is rewarding.

Approach

I feel it’s important for me to nurture and develop talent. Through my methodology skill and craft, I work through collaboration with individuals, or talented teams. I like to build an environment that drives a passion to develop new talent and create the unexpected. My approach is to encourage my team and myself to have open minds and imaginations. To seek reference and inspiration from many different places and spaces. Together, we can build opportunities through ideas, language, image and meaning.

Dos and don’ts

Do talk to people and work closely as a team. Through collaboration and thinking differently together we can create messages that are unforgettable. Over my career this has led to images that shift perceptions, sounds or smells that can create vivid memories and technological advancements that improve our lives. Don’t stand still. Make sure you embrace transformation in the ever-changing world we live in. We need to make sure we push one another and question the world’s greatest needs and requirements. This gives us the opportunity to think big to creatively provide solutions together – to challenge one another.