The creative benefits of working with your sibling - except if you're a Gallagher
A view from Jade Trott

The creative benefits of working with your sibling - except if you're a Gallagher

Sibling synergy can lead to creative excellence at any given moment, and having industry legends as parents doesn't hurt either.

Oasis. The Beach Boys. Creative partnerships that push and pull tighter than any other, bonded by blood. When they harmonise, when the chords twang, there’s a synergy there. A synergy that simply can’t be found in other partnerships, no matter how many zeroes you put after the pound sign. 

My brother, Lee, is a copywriter. I’m an art director. Two years ago, Lee and I decided to go quids in. We joined forces, with Marvel/DC crossover aspirations.

Because, cheesy as it sounds, there’s an unspoken connection between siblings. Something you can’t create, something you can’t buy. You’ve known them all your life, so you register every nuance, that subtle tic when he says "Yes", but really means: "We’ll do it, but not like that."

We call it ‘sibling shorthand’. I’ll look at Lee and I know from the way he looks at me that he already knows what I’m going to say. He’ll just pick it up instantly. It’s one of those weird things you only really read about in YA novels full of vampires, but we have full conversations that last two words.

And for that reason alone, ideas can’t be restricted to office hours. That might seem like a burden – I’m not being paid to inadvertently wrangle with client briefs on a Sunday morning – but creativity comes out of great love. Especially in our family.

We went to art school, always encouraged to be outrageous, always egged on to find the next big idea. Just because we do that for a job, it doesn’t mean we can switch it off. There’s creative value in everything.

And with Lee, it’s just another one of those sibling things. We’ve experienced our lives together, grown up together, learned together – work is just another thing to add to that list. Sometimes, a great idea can’t wait until the weekend’s done. You have to get it out of your brain, on to the paper, into the computer. You have the power to make it real – I can sacrifice a roast dinner for that.

Creativity’s with us on the way to work. On the way back from work. Your brain doesn’t settle until you’ve figured it out – then it’s onto the next idea. That’s something we definitely got from our parents. They’re no strangers to the industry.

Our Dad is Dave Trott. Our Mum is Cathy Heng. They’re both creative directors, both having made massive footprints. They excel at what they do.

They always told us: "Nobody in this world owes you a thing. If you want it, you’ll have to work twice as hard to get it."

 And it’s so true. They both went to art school too, so from an early age they were telling us about the singularity of good ideas. The commitment you need to make them work. They had no interest in us joining the commercial world, because we didn’t either. We both saw what they were doing. We wanted that. Given that Lee and I are both cut from the same cloth, imbued with the same ideals… it made sense to chase it together.

What we do is very different from our mum and dad. The agency we work in, the briefs we develop – it’s a completely different beast. But our end-goal is the same: we’re always searching for the next big thing, and having my brother along for the ride makes it all the more interesting.


Jade Trott is art director at Oliver

Topics