What creatives crave as we come into 2022

women looking at art

Back in 2015, it was reported that the creative industries in the UK alone would need 1.2 million new workers by the end of 2022. Of course, the world is a very different place to what it was in 2015 – but it’s one that, if anything, is in need of even more creative power than could have been predicted, And, as 2021 draws to its close, our eyes should be very much be on harnessing, encouraging, and building the right environments to nurture creative talent as we usher in next year. After all, societies and brands alike thrive when creatives thrive. So what can we do to ensure that happens – both now and in the future?

We wanted to take the time to speak with creatives across the UK, France and Germany to understand just that. We asked over 1000 creatives (who come from the full range of creativity disciplines), as well as our Creator Collective what’s making them tick right now – and hope brands who want to work with some of the regions finest creative minds can use this to understand how to get the best from them. So, what’s currently getting their creative juices flowing, what are they finding difficult, what do they want over the next 12 months – and where will they be finding inspiration next year?

Getting the juices flowing

Firstly, we wanted to understand how creatives are kicking off the creative process. And actually, the most popular answer was perhaps one of the least-creative sounding things of all: 43% of creators start their process by doing research. This was followed by 27% saying they start the process with some exercise and then 26% saying that they really feel the benefits of letting their minds open up with meditation. An incredible 79% of creators told us that collaboration is a critical part of the creativity process for them, so it’s worth creating an environment where they don’t have to work in a silo.

As one of our Collective, painter and illustrator Joy Yamusangie, put it: The idea of collaboration came about naturally as we were both discussing our desire to explore film. The aspect I enjoy most about working with someone in a different field to my own is that they bring so much knowledge, experience, and creativity to the table.

people in water

On the flip side, over a third (35%) say that struggling with mental blocks stops them from being as creative as can they be. This was closely followed by financial worries taking their minds off work (33%) – with many creatives wondering where the next pay check will come from.

The creative behemoth that is social media

It won’t be a surprise to know that social media – and our growing reliance on many platforms – has changed the lives of our creatives. The research showed that Social Media and Music are today’s main sources of creative inspiration, more so than Friends & Family. And it also showed that social media will continue to be the source of creativity in 2022: over a quarter (26%) of respondents said they will be looking to social media creators for inspiration over the next 12 months. It was the most popular response, beating both photographers (25%) and musicians (24%).

And when it comes to social media platforms, YouTube is the most prolific social media site for creatives when it comes to finding inspiration, but Instagram came a close second. Instagram, in turn, is the number one destination for creatives when it comes to sharing their work. But the big one to watch for next year is TikTok. The platform has skyrocketed up the list of social media sites that creatives are relying on; it’s now in the top three places creators use for both finding inspiration and posting content.

How to support creatives

It’ll continue to be important for brands to work with creatives if they want to stand out next year, but what can they do to help support creativity and get the best from their creative talent? Well, when we asked creatives what they want from brands next year, nearly half (47%) said that they want more creative freedom – so don’t try and restrict their flow! More than a third, meanwhile, said that they want to be paid more money for the job that they do. That, in turn, could help relieve some of the financial stressors mentioned earlier.

When asked which brands support the creative community, the most popular answer was actually ‘I don’t know’, so there’s clearly a lot more that can be done from brands across the region to support creatives. But, if you’re looking for some steer on the brands that are doing it well, some of the companies given were: Adidas, Nike, YouTube and Apple. It’s also critical that your company finds the right creative talent to work in alignment with what you want to achieve – an incredible 75% of creators say that it is important or very important that their values are aligned with the brands they will be working with.

As Serial Cut’s Sergio del Puerto explained: We’ve done what we have in our portfolio so many times that now we are the ones that reject projects we don’t feel comfortable with. We are honest to clients but also to ourselves for the sake of the project, so trying to convince a client to be wild is not something we do. They need to expect something from our visual universe if they knock at our door.”

pink headphones

Ultimately, if you want to work with the most creative talent next year, then help do your part to help the creative industry thrive: create a workspace for creators that will help them unleash their true potential, and let’s make use of all the talent and skill we can in 2022.