Be Wary of the Mouse

In the 1960’s a young American engineer, Doug Engelbart, invented the computer mouse.

Previously, you had memorise code and then type it into a command line.

But with a mouse, you didn’t have to be a computer expert to use a computer.

Programmers started to create menus, and you could explore a program’s capabilities by clicking.

Fast forward half a century, everyone and their Grandma is using computers, laptops, tablets and mobiles.

It’s a technological utopia.

But it came at a cost — we stopped caring about what’s happening under the hood.

When a program crashes, you just click okay, and try reopening it.

It’s usually fine, so who cares?

As a student you create work that feels new, unexpected and cutting-edge.

But I’d argue that the process is much closer to life before the mouse.

You work on a campaign and put it in your book. Like entering code into a terminal.

If a headline doesn’t work, you delete it and insert a new one.

Mentors can scan your work for bugs: words that trip you up, images that jar, before giving you feedback.

You can roll out new iterations of a campaign with lightning speed, ready to show the world.

But working in an agency is like life after the mouse.

You scribble on a pad and it disappears. Into another department, to the client, or to a production agency.

There are many, many people between you and the end result.

It’s hard to remember that hundreds of thousands of pounds will be spend on your scribbles.

We as creatives shoulder a huge responsibility to make the right clicks.

Not to crash the program, or worse, spam all your friends with horrible, malicious junk.

Though at times it may not feel like it, as a student you’re connected to reality.

You making work that’s interesting, informative and relevant.

You get your hands dirty.

So be wary of the mouse.