Work & Purpose

I’m Not 54 — I’m 22 With 32 Years Experience

This freelance creative director's forceful LinkedIn piece has blown up

(This article previously appeared on LinkedIn.com.)

This is not a rant.

This is not about how we did things back in our day.

This is about a real concern.

An age concern.

Time to Address Ageism in Design and Advertising

Let’s put things into perspective here. With the recent awareness regarding gender inequality in the workplace, the time is also right to address the inequality of blatant ageism in design and advertising.

If you’re 18 to 30 years old, you may want to look away now. Ideas and creativity are not exclusive to the twentysomethings. Yes, you read that right.

You forget, we’ve been there and done that. In fact, don’t look at the wisps of grey hair and think we’re not still doing it. We are.

The key argument for the defense? Simply put: experienced creatives are still passionate, but with pragmatism and discipline. More importantly, that experience brings a much bigger picture view to a brief.

Where Senior Talent Can Be Essential

There is definitely a right balance between hiring young and senior talent. That’s where senior talent is essential — guiding, mentoring, coaching, bloody well inspiring.

Peter Saville, Neville Brody, Paula Scher, Trevor Beattie, Stefan Sagmeister, Dave Trott, George Lois — amazing creatives that the whole industry, including the “kids,” look up to and yet the youngest one there is a young 55.

The past couple of years or so, I have witnessed this inequality first hand, both in an agency role and when applying for other permanent or freelance roles. I won’t name and shame just yet. I’m saving that for my memoirs when I truly become old and cantankerous.

And it’s not just me. I hear this every day from my many contemporaries.

A Message to the Creative Industry

One very experienced freelance copywriter I know looked after a luxury brand for several months with huge success, only to be suddenly replaced by a junior team who pretty quickly realized they were out of their depth. If it ain’t broke…

So my message to creative industry is relook at creatives who are over 40, even older, and think about what they can bring to the table beyond Werther’s Originals.

You will get proven people who can bring experienced understanding and behavioral knowledge to your new technology — surely the perfect complement.

Well, I’m off to finish a design for a mobile AI chatbot. Seriously!

Louis Loizou (aged 54)

Louis Loizou
By Louis Loizou
Louis Loizou is a freelance creative director at Phoenix CD, based in London. He has nearly 30 years experience in branding, art direction, design for print, advertising, B2B and shopper marketing. He was a founding member of Saatchi X. His website is Louisloizou.design.

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