Day 109

Be Unforgettable. 

As my final week at RTO+P approaches, I have to admit that it’s been everything I dreamed it would be. This office, and everyone who calls it home, all share the distinct quality of being a little off center—but in a good way. There’s a different way of thinking here and it shows not only in their work, but also in this space that doubles as their safe haven for pure creativity. Additionally,  much like the other agencies I’ve visited thus far, this feels more like a family than it does a collection of co-workers. I know it’s a little vague to say, but RTO+Pgets it". They understand this industry for what it is and have learned how to create exceptional work, while still emerging with their sanity intact.

Things here are a little more casual, a little more relaxed. There’s energetic music pumping through every corner of the office, random outbursts of laughter from down the hall and even a few furry mascots you’ll see skittering around from time to time. That’s because, even on the most stressful of days, these elements work to keep the pressure down. They allow people to focus on the task at hand, rather than get overwhelmed by an approaching deadline or product launch. Would this type of atmosphere work for any agency? No. It works for RTO+P, because it’s a natural extension of their collective personalities. They have less red tape, which in turn means more freedom, so people can be themselves and deliver their very best work without hesitation. There are no “suits” here, only a team of highly talented and devoted mischief-makers.

Another thing that’s really impressed me in my time here is the constant free flow of ideas. Creatives are encouraged to consider all angles, even if they don’t fit the mold of what’s being proposed, because you never know where a gem might be hiding. It’s an important distinction, as some agencies get so nervous about delivering what a client wants, they often overlook an idea that could be what the client needs. Here, they put all their cards are on the table. It opens up new avenues, sparks new ideas, and for RTO+P, it helps deliver the outstanding creative they’re known for. In the end, it’s easy to see why the motto here is, “Anything’s Possible”.

-Steve-

Day 102

A beautiful building near Philly's Fishtown neighborhood 

As I was walking to work this morning, I couldn’t help but look up at the buildings along the way. At first, I was disappointed to see nothing but shades of concrete grey. But then, I started to look a little closer. I began to notice the intricate details within each of the buildings. From elaborate stone window dressings to archways adorned with decorative latticework. All things I don’t take enough time to appreciate the true beauty of. Yet, for whatever reason, all these labor-intensive details stood out to me this morning.

Upon entering the office, I started to think about all the new construction I saw over the weekend—the modern-looking apartment complexes with colored glass walls, Juliet balconies and stainless steel lighting fixtures. It was the same style I saw in new constructions throughout Cleveland, Boston and New York City. It’s almost as if these companies are using cookie-cutters to form these structures. It’s a bit unsettling, because there’s nothing unique about them. There’s nothing that makes you understand where you are and what came before.

One of the city's many murals 

One of the city's many murals 

That’s why citywide creative projects, such as Philly’s Mural Arts Program, are so important. They help maintain and cultivate a city’s true identity. But in reality, we can't rely on such initiatives. It’s up to the people to make things happen. In each of the agencies I’ve visited thus far, I’ve meet extraordinary people who not only utilize their creative minds for clients, but also pursue outside endeavors that add to their city’s personality. From hosting shows at an art house cinema to helping rebuild a neighborhood’s brand and vision, these collective projects help to keep the “cookie-cutters” at bay.

They may not be the flashiest areas, but you can always tell when you’re entering an artistic neighborhood, because it’s sure to be the most distinct and captivating. So, I encourage everyone reading this to look at where you live and see if there’s anything you can do to improve it, distinguish it or even rebuild it. We are all creative people and that should never be limited to the hours of 9-5.

-Steve-

Day One

Through these doors, the adventure begins. 

Here goes nothing…

Cleveland is my home. It’s where I live and where I grew up. It’s a city on the rise and one that could always use a little good PR. That’s why this is being considered a “kick-off” month. I thought it would be cheating if I officially started this project just 20 minutes from my house. But nonetheless, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to showcase one of c-town’s best agencies—Recess Creative.

A small shop overflowing with personality, Recess brings their unique flavor to everything from websites and apps to print and collateral. The owners, Tim and Chris, have been such an influence on this project that I couldn’t even fathom beginning it anywhere else. Needless to say, I look forward to sharing my time here with the entire agency.

When I started this project, I wasn’t sure how it would play out. I mean, who would give a damn about a young Copywriter traveling the nation, trying to understand what it truly means to be “creative”? It turns out, a lot of people. So, as I mark the beginning of this exciting, yearlong journey, I can’t help but remain overwhelmed by the outpouring of positivity and support I’ve received from day one.

I realize that I’m the only one physically going on this trip, but there are so many people who helped make it possible. And I can’t even begin to thank them enough. Without each and every one of them, this wouldn’t even exist. Having said that, I’m really glad I can bring you along for the ride. Over the course of the next 14 months, I’m going to share my entire life with you. Through ups and downs, ins and outs, I’m keeping this blog filter-free. 

I know this post is crammed to the brim with thanks, but if you’d allow me just one more, I want to thank you all ahead of time for spending the next year with me. I think we’re going to become fast friends and have a lot of fun along the way.

Until next time,

-Steve-