When you are trying to come up with an idea, sometimes it's best to disengage from it. Daydreaming is an important part of my job. Maybe I should put on my business card "worldwide creative director and part-time daydreamer". Creativity is an expression of "self", and if your self isn't very interesting, your creativity won't be, either.
I keep my computer to one side. My layout pad (1), which I like to work on, is central. I always remind myself that, at heart, I am an art director. My job means that I have to be an ambassador for the agency, promoting what we do, and talking to clients and agencies round the world. But, deep down, what I like doing is just being an art director.
The picture (2) is something I had printed. It has morse code underneath the letters. I just put it there because it's a reminder of the power of creativity. It's bigger than just advertising. It has the power to change the way we feel and think. It literally can save lives. I have colour pencils (3) on my desk, which I like to use to sketch out ideas. We need to mix the old with the new digital world. It's not about replacing one with the other, but about how we stitch the two together.
My iPhone (4) is easy to use. I prefer it to a BlackBerry. A BlackBerry is for business and an iPhone says creativity.
Billy Mawhinney, my old friend and colleague, sent me this St Patrick's Day card (5). As you can tell by my name, I have Irish roots. I always get something from Billy (who is also Irish) on St Patrick's Day, be it a phone call, a card or a sprig of shamrock. I always forget but he remembers. Every time I look at the card, it makes me smile.
I have the megaphone (6) to remind me that talking is better than shouting.
The Vitra Campus magazine (7) is on my desk because, though I work in advertising, I don't live in advertising. Vitra is a Swiss designer furniture company and I recently visited the design and architecture centre at the Vitra Campus. It's important to go to exhibitions on painting, art and design to see what other people are doing. It stimulates you as a creative. If you just live in the world of advertising, all you will do is reflect advertising, and that's boring.
The bill for £620,488.71 (8) was for a lunch I had with a friend at the Wolseley. When you are in a restaurant with someone, the code is: whoever orders the wine pays the bill. He had ordered the wine and, when the bill came and it was £620,488.71, I said: "How come that wine was so expensive?" They realised their mistake and were very apologetic. The lunch actually cost £62.
The picture (9) is of my daughter, Laila. The photo reminds me of her humour, her wit and her zest for life.
I am a huge fan of Paul Smith and his clothes. The invitation (10) is for a fashion show of his. I very much like his philosophy that inspiration is everywhere, which is the title of his book. The essential message from Smith is just to keep your eyes open - you will see amazing things.
I really have no idea how that bottle of Champagne (11) came to be on my desk. I don't like Champagne. If I'm offered it at an event, I'll ask for a sparkling water instead. I do love wine, though. I have my own vineyard in France.
The Coke bottle (12) is part of my Vitra collection of miniature classics. It's a radio. I like slightly naff things, like the rocket ship (13), which is also a pencil sharpener. When you sharpen a pencil, it lights up, and on the bottom is a little vacuum cleaner which hoovers up the shavings.
The yellow Pencil (14) is a little show of vanity. Also on the shelf are The One Club Creative Hall of Fame award (15), from 2005, and the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame award (16). I call my Clio Lifetime Achievement award (17) the "it's all over" award. The easel (18) is just a lovely little object. I love collecting paintings, and that easel has a blank canvas that I know has to be filled one day.