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Introduced first on my private email list.

“What is most personal is most universal”
Carl R. Rogers

I hesitated a very long time before posting such a deeply personal article, but that quote made me realize my experience could really resonate with others.

I recently became aware that I wasn’t allowing myself to feel shitty, and this was simply not okay. Very conscious of being a privileged white male, I would simply deny any struggle. I’m too lucky to complain. I’m okay. I’m fine. Everything is great.

Well, not everything is great. To start with, New York is a very challenging city to live in, it can get very lonely here. I didn’t grow up here, so my closest friends are very far away. Of course I “know” a ton of people, but can I really call those people my friends? Working as a freelancer, I don’t have too many opportunities to meet new people and when I do it’s mainly about business. Being surrounded by millions of people is the easiest way to feel lonely. …


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Introduced first on my private email list.

You want a good looking logo? Head to dribbble and download one. You want a logo that’s efficient, memorable and that resonates with your brand? A logo you’re proud to use and that your clients will immediately recognize and associate positively? You’ll have to go through the branding process first.

Last week, my collaborator Sarah and I spoke about the importance of defining and understanding your brand before investing any time, energy or financial resources in assets like logos or taglines. …


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Introduced first on my private email list.

You need a brand

I received yet another email asking for a logo design yesterday.
I called them. And surprised them.
“You don’t need a logo,” I said. “You need a brand”.
A long silence settled in.

I could spend hours telling you just how important is it to define your brand’s voice, to find a language that translates your core values after taking the time to perform a minute analysis of your company’s strategy and habitat.

But I’m guessing my words might be met with that same embarrassing silence.

Let me explain a…


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Introduced first on my private email list.

Yesterday was such a lazy day, but it was also one of the most efficient days I’ve had in long time.

I had this long proposal to write for a client. I really didn’t want to do it.

That’s one part of my work I really dislike, I always try to avoid it. From the moment I woke up, everything I was doing, more or less consciously, was putting distance between me and the possibility of working on that task.

I made my bed carefully,
Did the dishes slowly and thoroughly,
Took a walk outside to get coffee,
Came back and went out again to take my clothes to the laundromat,
Called my family in France,
Answered some…


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Introduced first on my private email list.

Reminder: “Planning Time” Tonight. 9pm**

That’s the notification I received yesterday afternoon as I was heading home. Scheduled to appear every 3 months, this alarm prompts me to complete one of my favorite “good practices”. Why don’t you try it?

Sit down comfortably, close your eyes, and imagine yourself 3 months from today in a happy state. Where are you? What are you doing? What have you achieved in the meantime? Who is around you? What is your general situation professionally, personally, etc?

Being in that state of contentment is your ultimate goal, so establish what it was that got you there and design a plan to make that happen! During this kind of planning session I always define 3, 6, and 12 month plans. Because I meditate on my goals every 3 months, I can regularly refine, check their progress, and adjust along the way. …


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Introduced first on my private email list.

I really believe that creativity can solve anything. I think part of this hopefulness grew from a childhood love of James Bond movies. I mean after all, he always escapes the trickiest situations by coming up with one genius idea. That’s why I founded Creatives Without Borders in 2015, and that’s why I mainly work with startups.

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But let’s go back to what happened several months ago. I was just finishing a 13 month-long world backpacking trip. I was broke as hell. My American visa had expired. I was lost. I’d used my last pennies to fly to Montréal and crash on a friend’s couch, because I knew I had to be close to NY and the States to reconnect with my network. …


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Introduced first on my private email list.

After my previous article I don’t know, I got really interested in pointing out counter-intuitive approaches to generating creativity and ideas. As both a freelancer and through working in agencies, I’ve always reserved a special place for bad ideas. I’ve listed them, categorized them, and sometimes even presented them to a client. Unfortunately, most of the time I had to justify them and fight strong opinions against this practice. Let me tell you why I embrace bad ideas:

1. There is no good without bad

It’s the Ying-Yang theory. There’s no white without black. If you think about good ideas as a territory or a physical place, you need to draw and define the limits of this space. One of best ways to do that is by generating the bad ideas first, and then draw the limits, i.e. the borders between good and bad. In order to do that you have to embrace the bad and accept it as an important part of the ideation process. …


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Introduced first on my private email list.

I’m really excited this week. Things at Creatives Without Borders (CWB) are moving forward very rapidly. At CWB, we connect designers, thinkers and doers with nonprofits in need of creative expertise. We’ve already made dozens of projects happen all over the world, and it all started with a simple idea!

We are basically trying to change the world, one project at a time. That might sound kind of pretentious or naive, but I really do believe that anyone can change the world if they start small enough. Just think of individuals such as Martin L.K, Napoleon, Malcolm X, or Rosa Parks, they all started somewhere. If you’re trying to break into the “world-changing game”, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of NGOs and nonprofits, and feel lost in the sea of people trying to make an impact. After all, so many people are already engaged, what can you really add? …


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Introduced first on my private email list.

“I don’t know” is certainly the most common answer I give to my clients’ questions. That may sound crazy, but I actually think it’s the smartest thing you can say as a freelancer. I have worked with hundreds of different products and industries in over 10 countries and 3 continents. Drones, medical stuff, technology, education, networking, social media, high tech, delivery, alcohol, festivals, apps, etc, etc… How could anyone possibly know everything about all these industries? How could you possibly know every detail about their audiences, specifics needs, user behaviours and expectations? …


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Introduced first on my private email list.

Enough is enough! Okay, I know I’m hyperactive, but I don’t want to reduce my life to sitting in front of my computer 15 hours a day. 3 months ago I decided to make something happen and hire an assistant. After 48 hours of interviewing a ton of candidates, I finally made the move. May this blessed day be forever remembered as one that changed my life! Let me tell you how…

I’m a freelancer but not on my own.

As a freelancer one of the hardest thing to face is… Yourself. You work from home, spend whole days without human contact, and constantly experience doubt, fear, and problems alone. Having a personal assistant on hand means having someone to discuss business with, encourage you, give you feedback, ideas and sometimes: Kick. Your. …

About

Adrien Colombié

Adrien is the founder of Creatives Without Borders, a creative designer working all over the world and a passionate UX/UI Consultant for tech startups.

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