Creativity Squared: Why Allison Beck Just Keeps Going
Allison Beck is VP, senior creative director at Jack Health, Jack Morton’s newly launched healthcare practice, where she shapes the group's creative vision, helps lead the development of bold and innovative experiences for its stable of brands, and leads creative for the agency’s largest pharmaceutical client. Beck believes in trusting her creative instincts and loves finding the creative spark within a project that inspires and drives her to push the work further – or as she says, 'just keep going'.
I would describe myself as intense and passionate, with a splash of humour. I’m not an 'organised person' per se, but I’ve created a system that works well for me. I have a quirky ability to navigate through complex file systems using my memory and weirdly-strong spatial awareness. Several of my colleagues have raised an eyebrow at my computer desktop, which may seem chaotic at first glance, but it works well for me.
I can happily get lost in the weeds of projects and enjoy delving into the details. I trust my instincts above all else, and they have served me well. I love the holistic creative process – brainstorming, collaboration, meeting and working with individuals from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and career paths – coming together in the name of creating.
'Just keep going' is an internal mantra I’ve used throughout my life and career. It means that I never stop, but push forward with the work I love. There are times as a creative where you hit a dead end—I’ve been there many times. The mantra helps to recenter my mind and reminds me to stay focused, keep pushing, keep thinking, keep evolving, and the rest will come.
Radical ideas excite me. I love projects that make bold statements, where those who were involved took smart risks. A game-changing, breakthrough idea to a brand is powerful. Work that pushes boundaries with fresh, original thinking, while still resonating with the brand, are the most memorable.
I start each creative project by researching and conceptualising on my own. Ahead of the team kickoff, I work one-on-one with a strategist to understand both the brand strategy and the creative push off points. I prefer to brainstorm solo before a group brainstorm as it prepares me to fully understand the ask, and I can start forming ideas without any external inputs.
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, so I try not to overthink things. I write all my ideas down—those that immediately come to mind and those that pop up throughout the day. Depending on the project, I may start by using a ‘what if…’ question as it may help to organise my thoughts and create launching-off points.
The collaboration during a creative brainstorm, and how it leads to a final output, is why I love Jack Morton – the people at Jack are the agency’s beating heart. I always take advantage of the time spent brainstorming and encourage my team to do the same. It’s a great opportunity to start concepting ideas, connecting with your team and learning from their individual talents and experiences that will provide inputs and eventually form into a compelling idea.
I grew up in the Chicagoland area. My parents brought home a camcorder one day and my interest was forever piqued. The camcorder became a literal lens through which I could share stories – my own documentaries and all sorts of imaginative fiction I could drum up at eight years old. It was an outlet through which I created a Home Shopping Network parody segments with my grandma, acted out the latest Disney movie, or filmed myself playing the piano or dancing, in order to observe my own actions. Later, I could stitch together the footage to share the full experience.
Fast forward, I started taking photography classes in high school, which sparked a different part of my craft—learning how to frame the world and tell a story with a still image. From there, in college, I studied graphic design and communication arts, where I was able to apply both still and motion camera techniques and began to steer towards a creative career.
I briefly pivoted and moved to South Korea for two years to teach English. This experience gave me the opportunity to reflect on what energized and excited me, where I wanted to dedicate my time and passion. This time away, immersed in a completely different country and culture, reaffirmed my ambitions within art and design and lead me to art direction.
Once I found myself at an experiential agency and I understood the possibilities within this space, I was hooked, pouring myself into the work. I wanted to create amazing work, but I also needed inspiration. This came in the form of different creative expressions—blogs, publications, books and conferences, etc.
Live creative conferences and events became essential to my development and motivation. Attending conferences, such as The Brand New Design Conference, was my annual dose of creative inspiration that was essential to my personal growth, as I was able to connect and learn as a creative from peers I hold in the highest esteem. The people I’ve work with, my mentors, experiences, and access to compelling projects and creative opportunities have shaped, and continue to evolve, my ability to create successfully.