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Alex Jenkins on Cardiff & Chance

We caught up with Alex following his brilliant talk in November on Chance to hear his take on Creative Mornings and Creativity in Cardiff. 

What makes Cardiff special to you? (Creatively or personally)

Cardiff now has world class architecture, a very vibrant creative community, great bars, music venues and great places to eat. I think we could still do better though. I think Cardiff could be rebranded in a very dynamic, vibrant way, placing Cardiff firmly at the forefront of creative thinking on a global scale (see Antwerp).

Rebranding Cardiff should be approached as a proper branding exercise with careful attention paid to a coherent forward thinking and clear strategy, combining clear brand values and essence with clear brand messaging that speaks properly to the target audience across all touch points in the City. Looking closely at copywriting, tone of voice, imagery, photography, illustration, messaging and how this is applied consistently and innovatively across all facets of the City from signage, transport, public spaces, joint promotion and linkup with other cities, through to public events etc.

Ideally branding that can adapt and evolve with the City and its growth/change/regeneration and branding that people living in the City can be a part of and feel speaks to them and communicates their City and its values to visitors from all over the world.

This is in direct contrast to an existing, tired, old fashioned and ugly logo centric solution plastered indiscriminately and clumsily across every facet of the city. Swansea and Newport are guilty of this too.

What’s the most important lesson you have learnt during your career so far?

Do the things you love, work on projects you love with people you like.

Who would you like to see speak at Creative Mornings Cardiff?

Chris Cunningham, Thomas Heatherwick, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dr Steve Peters, Bradley Wiggins, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Wayne Hemmingway, Norman Foster, Vaughan Oliver, Peter Saville, Mark Farrow, Camila Batmanghelidjh, Paul Smith, Kenneth Grange, Martin Lambie-Nairn, Julien Macdonald, Tony Kaye, Trevor Beattie, Mickey Smith, Timothy Everest, Jeff Banks, Terry Matthews, Michael Moritz, Peter Greenaway, Ruth Jones, Owen Sheers, Russell T Davies, James Dean Bradfield, Gruff Rhys, John Cale, Ben Drury, Simon Sinek, Gary Vaynerchuk, George Simkin, David Lynch, Hamish Muir, Morag Myerscough, Alan Kitching, Neville Brody, John Warwicker

Aimee Bateman (careercake.com), Mo Syed (https://www.facebook.com/ForLuca1), Nathaniel Jones, Rhydian Powell and Sam Jones (Weekend Offender), Anthony Shapland (g39 Gallery), Arrielle Tye (Promo Cymru), Dale Williams and Larkin Cen (Hokkei), Jo Aaron Lilford (Clout Branding), David Davies (Entrepreneur), Sean Rees (seanrees.co.uk), Mike Sullivan (studiomister.com), Tom Lloyd (bluegg.com), Nicola Rivers, Ross Hutchins (ourethos.co.uk), James Bearne (sequence.co.uk), Sam and Shauna (hangfiresmokehouse.com), Dylan Griffith (smorgasbordstudio.com), Paul Nicholas (baitstudio.com).

Did speaking at Creative Mornings affect you or change your outlook at all?

It did, it’s had a quite profound impact on me actually. I felt truly honored to be asked to talk and I’ve met some wonderful people directly from it. I felt really humbled by the number of people who took time out of their busy lives to hear me speak. Preparing the talk, made me really appreciate everybody who has been an influence on me and in my career, and I wanted to say thank you to them during my talk. It’s also a terrific confidence boost if I’m being honest.

Do you have any advice to future speakers?

Just be yourself, relax, tell your story, but most of all enjoy it. Only you can tell your own story properly with passion and conviction. Don’t drink too much coffee beforehand and take the time to speak to as many people as possible, before and after the talk.

Why do you think people should come along to Creative Mornings?

You meet fantastic people. It’s well organised in a fantastic building and it has a lovely relaxed atmosphere. You never know, you may get asked to give a talk yourself in the future. It’s also really nice to feel a part of (and adding a bit to) a vibrant creative community in Cardiff. (The coffee and cakes are great too!)

How important do you think Creativity is to our City?

It’s incredibly important. A lot of creative talent leaves Cardiff and Wales for the bright lights of London and farther afield but the great thing is that there is now a definite brain drain away from London back to Wales. This can only add positively to the creative mix and create opportunity for everybody as Wales shouts louder, creatively on a global scale.

Which is your favourite Creative Mornings talk?

I think all of them are great for many different reasons. I watched them all avidly for weeks before my talk trying to get pointers! I’ve learnt something important from all of them.

Find Alex on Twitter "https://twitter.com/designdforlife"

Chance by Jenny Allan

Jenny's review of Friday's Creative Morning with Alex Jenkins.

What clears the early-morning brain better than the smell of hot, fresh coffee, still-warm pastries and an inspiring talk from one of Wales’ top visual artists of a Friday?

Today we heard from photographer and designer Alex Jenkins, who shared the story of his personal journey to success through what he labels Chance. With iconic images and brands to his name, such as the Prodigy’s infamous Fat of the Land album artwork, Alex is certainly one of Wales’ most successful and determined arts professionals. His talk today highlighted the chances that happen in your career and in your life and how you can take those chances as they come at you, embracing risk, making everything you do an active choice about the way you live, love and work.

Through hilarious anecdotes, tales of success achieved seemingly by chance and introductions to the individuals in his life who have inspired and enabled him, Alex talked us through a career which doesn’t simply showcase his talent and impressive portfolio, but demonstrates how success is achievable for everyone; chance is not luck, it is simply seeing what is around you and allowing it to inspire and motivate you to your own personal triumphs.

So get out there, carpe diem, JFDI!

What makes a Good Host?

The summit got us all thinking about what it means, and what it takes, to be a good host.

It’s not about fashion or the concept of being cool – it’s good old decency, generosity and good manners. It’s demonstrating these traits to people you don’t know yet, smiling at strangers and taking the time to get to know them.

It’s getting over yourself and dancing like a loon in the name of fun. It’s celebrating what’s best about people, not fixating on what’s worst. It’s about thinking hard about what you can do to help others share their talent, insight and creativity and being genuinely in awe of it. It’s having a big smile and a big heart. 

It’s Tina and Sally from Creative Mornings hq meeting every single person as they arrived at the CM summit party to welcome them personally. The people at the summit were all passionate, not necessarily about the same things, for some it was showcasing diversity, for others it was showcasing beautiful work, but still that was a constant. Creative expression is what makes us human and it’s the best of us - Creative Mornings is a celebration of this. image