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Creativity Squared: Tom Daley

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Quigley's senior copywriter on the importance of routine, putting pen to paper and approaching the world with an open mind

Creativity Squared: Tom Daley

Tom Daley is the senior copywriter at Quigley, a fully-integrated brand performance agency uniting brand and demand-based in Los Angeles, California.


LBB> How would you describe your personality? 

Tom> Silly. Curious. Very literal. More interested in questions than explanations. 

LBB> How do you like to see the world? 

Tom> I like to approach the world with an open mind, find out what other people think, and then try to figure out why they think that. 

LBB> Do you think creativity is something that’s innate or something that you learn – why? 

Tom> Creativity is innate because it’s of the body and of the unconscious. 

LBB> Would you consider yourself an introvert or extravert – or something else? Why? 

Tom> Outgoing Introvert. I like being by myself, I like small groups, and I like big crowds where I can be anonymous. 

LBB> How do you feel about routine? 

Tom> Routine is very important to me. It builds discipline. It’s how I get myself to do the little things I don’t want to do in order to achieve the big things I want to accomplish. 

LBB> When it comes to creative ‘stuff’ that you enjoy, do you like things that are similar to the work you do, or do you enjoy exploring? 

Tom> If I see something I feel like I could have come up with, I generally avoid it. It would be a waste of time. I prefer to expose myself to new ideas or learn something. 


LBB> How do you assess whether an idea or a piece of work is truly creative? What are your criteria? 

Creative work should feel like it’s opened a new room in your brain. My criteria: Is it unexpected? Is it true? Creativity lives in the tension between those two. 

LBB> Has that criteria shifted or evolved over the years? 

Tom> No. In the same way that creativity is innate, the ability to recognise it is too. I’ve just gotten better at describing why something is or isn’t.

LBB> What creative campaigns are your proudest of and why? 

Tom> I’m proudest of the campaign I’m working on right now because it incorporates something I’m passionate about (surfing), while also showcasing and supporting a powerful collaboration for our client. 


LBB> How do you like to start a campaign or creative project? 

Tom> I start by writing taglines, a bunch of them. I write until I find something interesting, something with a twist in it. Then figure out what it means. That’s my concept. 

LBB> Are there any tools or platforms (analogue or digital) that you find particularly helpful for gathering or iterating ideas? 

Tom> Pen and paper. Getting my hand moving gets my brain moving. 

LBB> Do you like to start every project as a blank sheet or are you constantly collecting possible inspiration or references for future projects? 

Tom> I don’t think anybody starts anything as a blank sheet, you’re always going to draw from what you’ve been exposed to. That said, I don’t keep a folder of inspiration. I trust that if there’s something relevant worth remembering I’ll remember it. 

LBB> Do you prefer to work collaboratively or alone? 

Tom> It’s always a combination of both for me. I prefer to think and write alone, but I need to see another’s reaction to gauge what’s working or not. Likewise, many of my best ideas come from responding to other people’s thinking. 

LBB> When it comes to the hard bits of a project when you’re stumped, do you have a process or something you like to do for getting past those tricky bits? 

Tom> I make up my mind to figure it out, then go for a walk. It’s all about taking my hands off the wheel and trusting my brain to sort things. 

LBB> How do you know when a piece of work is ‘done’? 

Tom> Nothing is ever done, you just run out of time. The trick is knowing when you’re out of time, which is not the same thing as a deadline, and being able to step back. 


LBB> Where did you grow up and what early experiences do you think sowed the seeds of your creativity?

Tom> I grew up in the burbs of Richmond, VA, and was fortunate to have two witty parents who instilled in me a love of language and got me watching Jeopardy! at an early age. 

LBB> How did you hone your craft? 

Tom> Pre-pandemic I got into doing stand up and I credit that with making me better at writing, receiving criticism, and trusting my creative instincts. 

LBB> When it comes to your own creativity, what external factors can really help you fly, and what do you find frustrates it?

Tom> I do my best work when I know I’ll be presenting it to an audience. If I can think of something like a performance then I’m able to completely commit. 

LBB> How do you think agencies can best facilitate creativity in terms of culture and design? 

Tom> To facilitate creativity agencies should embrace the idea that time spent away from your computer is not necessarily unproductive time.

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Quigley, Mon, 07 Mar 2022 15:48:03 GMT