Erik Kessels: In advertising, ideas are more important than craft

Erik Kessels believes that in advertising, ideas are more important than craft and that to stay creatively stimulated you have to be a hybrid.

“The ideas are often the most important thing that a creative person has," says Erik Kessels. "Because all the craftsmanship and how to finish things – that is something very democratic. Anyone can do that.”

Erik Kessels is the co-founder and creative director of communications agency KesselsKramer, which has offices in Amsterdam, London and LA. When he founded the agency with Johan Kramer in 1995, they broke down the formal structure of an agency: there were no account executives, ideas were formed one-to-one between the client and the agency.

As well as his work in advertising, Kessels collects photographs and curates art exhibitions. He believes this crossover of disciplines helps keep him stimulated and keep his creativity finely tuned. This year, Kessels has been working on a photography exhibition on migration in Europe. It features hundreds of portrait images of first-generation migrants in Germany.

“I think the biggest achievement for me is that in 20 years I don’t have the feeling that I made any compromise, especially in design and advertising [where] that whole industry is living by compromises, says Kessels.

He goes on to explain that this avoidance of compromise is not always the most financially savvy way to run a business, but it leads to the best creativity.

Watch the Talk with Erik Kessels