Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jelly Helm the Storyist.

Shocking. Jelly Helm does not have his own page on Wikipedia. Shocking because he is a creative giant. And shocking because Wikipedia is one of his clients. Yes, one of his clients. He went on a sabbatical from his position as creative director at Wieden+Kennedy in Amsterdam and now has about four clients he's managing on his own. Creativity never rests!

Being on sabbatical has afforded Helm lots of time to think. He says what he shared with all 100 or so of us at The Cleaners, Ace Hotel is the result of 'thinking for a while'. There were lots of fantastic and/or interesting things about what he shared, but I have to say, the format in which he shared them was striking. In what he coins a David Kennedy-ism, Helm rips sheets of paper in quarters and carries them around for note-taking. His presentation this evening was a series of quarter-size sheets he imprinted with information using a typewriter and then scanned to share with us. How beautifully undesigned and unexpected.

Helm considers himself a storyist. Stories are how we make sense of the world. He says a brand is 'a story that expands our self-story'. But here's the catch: This isn't just any brand. In order to be an emergent, story-telling brand, it has to be about purpose, not profit. He vaguely referenced a W+K client as a good example of who this isn't. He says of their brown, carbonated beverage product, "If you drink it, you die. They're selling poison." (Here's a hint: they plaster polar bears all over their cans at Christmastime. Yes, them.) According to Helm, if a company extracts more than it gives, it will never work. Hmm. As he spoke on all of this, you could all but hear the electricity buzzing and rushing into the lightbulb that is Helm's brain.

"What is your story?"
"Where do you create value?"
"Where is your abundance?"
"Where is your joy?"
"Value vs. Profit"
"Abundance vs. Scarcity"

Thank you, AIGA, for hosting another great creative event. Pretty sure Jelly Helm will have a Wikipedia page in a matter of moments....and I hope this quote, my favorite from the evening, makes it in there somewhere: "There's something incredibly joyful about spilling out into the world." Thanks for spilling on us tonight, Jelly Helm.

1 comment:

  1. This series has been consistently awesome. It's called Designspeaks and happens every 3 months or so. I can't wait for the next one.