In 2018, Tytus Klepacz won a Yellow Pencil in the D&AD professional awards, but nine years earlier, he won a New Blood Yellow Pencil for his entry on the createnothate.org brief. Klepacz talks to us about the motivation behind the Yellow Pencil-winning campaign, the importance of impactful design and his advice for emerging creatives.
How do you think you go from being a New Blood Award winner in the earlier stages of your career to a D&AD Yellow Pencil winner in 2018?
Well, I do the same things all the time, just better. But seriously, the New Blood Award we won is not an accidental reward and if you want to follow the path you have chosen, it will eventually turn into another success. For me it was the first ever Yellow Pencil for Poland, and for my colleague Adam, with whom we won nine years ago in London whilst working on Madison Avenue. Be patient, my friends.
Tell us more about your D&AD Awards Yellow Pencil winning project
It was in 2018 when To The Last Tree Standing campaign won Yellow, Graphite and two Wood Pencils. It was a huge digital project for Greenpeace. Białowieża Forest is Europe’s last lowland primeval forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When the Polish Government authorized logging there, we needed support from a new group – ideally young ones, whose voice hadn’t been heard before, and aged at least 13 years old so they could sign our petitions.
A digital copy of the area was made in Minecraft – 700 square kilometers were from satellite imagery and featured over 7 million custom designed trees. Once it became a hit within the gaming community, we took it away, giving our audience a taste of what it would feel to lose the Białowieżal Forest. We estimate the campaign reached over 100 million people worldwide. The campaign helped reach the 170,000 signatures in the petition to increase the size of the National Park. Thanks to the massive effort of ordinary people, NGO campaigners, media and our campaign, the Minister of Environment, responsible for green-lighting the logging, was dismissed and the logging itself was suspended.
Has it always been important to you to create meaningful design?
Definitely. An impactful campaign should be beautiful. If it is only wise and important, but the design itself is misleading – only a handful will notice it, people will look at it but won’t see the point. However, if we are dealing only with an aesthetically pleasing piece – there is a chance that no one will see what’s behind. Creativity festivals all over the world are used not only as a battleground, competition or a stage for experiment, but gradually have become a space where the best works have an impact and really make a difference. Craft is craft – both on the level of idea and execution. It is worth remembering that the implementation is as important as the idea itself. Only design selected adequately (in the sense that it should not be distracting, it should deliver a message and respect the target group) to the idea gives something that we can call meaningful design.
Tell us a bit about your journey from New Blood to where you are now
For me, it was a journey from the paper to the wood. Here you can see me posing with a paper mockup of D&AD Pencil back in the days in 2010 when I was a junior copywriter. But, honestly the trip from New Blood success to the first D&AD Yellow Pencil is what I call my career.
How do you keep yourself inspired?
There are two great things in life that inspire me the most – my children and art. Both have a lot in common – they let me jump out of my mindset, think and see things differently; and sometimes see completely different things. Art and contact with my children redefine my perspective of the world. A simple example – when I was about to move to Dubai, I had a conversation with my 4 year old son about petroleum business. You know, where all that money and wealth come from. So I asked him, "What does a car need to run?". "A street," he replied.
Where do you get your best ideas?
I try not to watch too many ads. This is distracting and can cause unnecessary noise in the head. It is definitely better to come up with ideas as if there was nothing before – kind of tabula rasa situation. Apparently, Charlie Chaplin had a lot of plagiarism issues. He dreamed of melodies, wrote them down, and then it turned out that he had heard them somewhere before. Therefore, do your research after you are sure of the idea. If it was done before it would hurt more, but if it is something unique – bingo!
What have you learnt along the way in your career that you could share as advice with new creatives?
Try not to be too serious; don't pretend to be smart. Don't try too hard. Have fun. Go to the museum. Think a lot about nothing. No worries, things will follow. The wiser the dumber.
What challenges do you think young creatives are facing right now?
First of all, working in advertising is no longer as sexy as it used to be. We can talk for hours about why this has happened. It seems to me that the younger generation has the responsibility to restore splendor to our work. It may seem that today it is harder, that in times of postmodernism everything has already been done and we have to resort to technology, because the idea alone is not enough. We must remember that such thinking is a trap. Technology is not a form of execution, but it's part of the idea. When we think about it like this, advertising today is sexy like never before and ideas have never had so much freedom.
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