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A question for the more senior creatives: how much conflict is normal in an art director/copywriter relationship?

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Maybe a low background buzz now and again, but most of our aggression is saved for defending our ideas against cardboard cutouts of human beings.

likehelpfulfunny

Beautifully put. 👏🏻

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I’ve worked with my partner in NYC for 6 years. We argue a lot, but it’s always about the work and it’s never personal. The important thing is just to remember that youre both just trying to make the work better. You may have different ideas of HOW to make the work better, and that’s ok. Typically we resolve the dispute based on whoever came up with the original idea. If the concept was your thought, you have final say.

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I draw the line at duels

likefunny

There are simple tools to deal with any difficult situation with a partner. For example, if your partner keeps pushing on something that you don’t believe in, just say, let’s present it and see what happens. Or say, let’s write it down and keep going and come back to it later. Dont worry about your partner’s idea representing you badly. It’s not your place to be the creative director over your partner’s ideas. if it becomes an ongoing thing, and you feel you just don’t share the same creative taste, then you should deal with it by talking to your creative leaders and ask if you could try working with other people at the same time.

likesmart

It really depends on the partner. When I was a junior, I got paired up with a writer who screamed at me in the middle of the agency because I didn’t agree with the merit of one of his concepts, constantly tried to belittle me and went behind my back to my CDs. My anxiety was so high that I had involuntary twitches in my hands and chest pains and ended up in the hospital. After I left that job, I had a very supportive partner with zero ego. If you get paired with a shit like my first partner and experience something like I did, raise your hand early. It won’t get better. You just need to cut the anchor and let it sink under its own duress.

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“When two men in a business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”
—William Wrigley, Jr.

The other way I’ve heard this quoted is, “If two people always agree, only one of them is thinking.”

Another thought: “No friction, no pearl.”

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The best creative teams argue all the time. For the work. Never personal. It’s how good stuff gets made. It gets thrashed out. And properly thought through.

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My partner and I get to better places through initial disagreement/divergence. This works as long as the other person goes ‘this doesn’t work in its current form but what if we did xyz’ either as a build or as a new idea. Flat out ‘no, I don’t like it’ and no alternative is crap. I think we’ve had one proper argument in the 3 1/2 years we’ve worked together and it wasn’t about a campaign, and we resolved it same day.

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Been with my partner for a little over year and we’ve never fought or even sassed each other. I’m very lucky that we gel well together. Build on each other’s ideas and know each other’s strengths. BUT when i was an intern i had a partner that i could not stand! We made nothing good together because we couldn’t communicate

likesmart

It really depends. I’ve had really smooth relationships and more challenging ones. With the tougher ones it’s important to keep communicating when things are bugging you. Remember you both (hopefully) want to do well. If you can solve it between each other without escalating it looks a lot better to your bosses, but if it gets bad enough there’s nothing wrong with asking for advice on how to work together better.

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Asking for advice instead of complaining or throwing another under the bus is the right approach.

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likefunny

I’m fairly new to the game so I don’t know what is normal. Any insights around this?

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Totally depends on the writer and the art director.

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Depends on person. My last partner and I fought like cats and dogs. My partner now and I get in like two peas in a pod. We only disagree over work points, not personal ones. We discuss until we get to the best answers. The former relationship just wasn’t worth all the stress and in the end negatively affected our output. The new team is stronger and better. A bit of conflict is okay... you still have to call each other out when your ideas are meh. But not destructive levels, because it all comes down to trusting each other and going into bat together.

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I have to say, “my partner and I’s” is a very unique use of language.

funny

I think a good amount of bickering is normal.

I’ve had great partnerships, a terrible one, and one in between. It happens. If you’re questioning it, maybe it’s time to move on. The great creative partnership is one of the few wholesome things agency life offers. Work to solve it or move on. Hanging out in a shitty relationship is just gonna bring you down, and you ain’t got time for that.

Arguing is what makes my partner and I’s ideas clear and bulletproof. Never personal. Just two people who see things differently until we identify what we’re really talking about and agree upon. That’s usually the gold.

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