WHY YOU NEED THIS DECK
If you generate ideas for a living, you know it isn’t getting easier.
Timelines are now shorter. Clients are more demanding. And you’re competing with creatives from every corner of the globe.
The Deck of Brilliance can help you face that blank page and looming deadline with a bit more confidence.
It gives you 52 tools for working up ideas in short periods of time.
Together, they make a complete idea-generation system.
But why would you need tools at all?
The way we see it, professionals in every industry—from neurosurgery to gardening—use tools.
Creative people don’t have to be an exception.
Without a systematic way of approaching briefs, you risk leaving the outcome to chance, a random spark or a burst of inspiration in the shower.
Professionals don’t leave things to chance.
They don’t wait for ideas to come to them; they hunt them down where they live.
These tools are the result of over 50 years of experience in the world’s toughest advertising markets.
We’ve refined them over many years and we use them ourselves, almost every day, to hunt.
We are happy to share them for free.
Yes, you read that correctly. These tools are free.
The tools themselves would be of no value without the fine examples that go with them. And for those, we need to thank thousands of wonderful, talented creatives across the world.
Please help us keep those examples up to date.
We are Juggi Ramakrishnan and Todd McCracken, wishing you brilliance.
HOW TO USE THE TOOLS
If it’s your first time using the deck, you’ll find the instructions and examples under each tool helpful.
But you have to remember that our goal here is not to classify ideas.
So don’t get hung up on whether a particular example should belong under one tool and not another; indeed, many great ads use a clever combination of techniques and help illustrate several tools at the same time.
Our intent is only to point your mind down different paths.
Ready to begin?
Pick any tool and spend 10 minutes seeing where it takes you before moving on to another.
Aim to put down at least 10 or 15 ideas in each ideation session, before critiquing them.
The more ideas you generate, the better the chances of nailing the big one.
With regular use, you should see a change in the quantity and quality of your creative output.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE DECK OF BRILLIANCE
“The Deck of Brilliance is as close as we will ever get to answer the eternal question: How do you come up with ideas?”
Anselmo Ramos, Chief Creative Officer & Founder, DAVID.
“I fully support any tool that helps young people solve big, hairy briefs with creativity. Todd and Juggi just happened to have created the best one, ever.”
Rob Reilly, Global Creative Chairman, McCann Worldgroup.
“Brilliant tool, for people like me, who just can’t get STARTED!”
“I haven’t seen such a useful collection of cards since the US Army released Iraq’s Most Wanted Deck back in 2003. That was to help track down baddies. Tracking down cool ideas is way more fun.”
Peter Vegas, Writer.
“Not only is this a repository of the best ads ever, but the best ads ever are set in context. This is useful for anyone in the industry.”
Ross Chowles, Creative Strategist for The Jupiter Drawing Room and Professor of Practice, Michigan State University Advertising and PR Department.
“I wish that this had existed twenty years ago. And that no one else knew.”
Paul Catmur, Managing Partner & CCO, Barnes, Catmur & Friends, Dentsu.
“D&AD, Cannes, One Show. Wonderfully inspiring, but they don’t actually show you how to get great ideas. The Deck of Brilliance is the toolkit you need to be in those award shows next year.”
Graham Fink, Multimedia Artist & CCO, Ogilvy China.
“The first principle of the Deck of Brilliance is to ‘Glorify and Celebrate’. And this is precisely what it does, as it celebrates the many tools and tricks of the trade that can lead to glorious creative ideas. I’m very happy to help apply the fourteenth principle right here: ‘Get a Testimonial’.”
Ben Lilley, McCann Worldgroup Creative Leadership Chair, Asia Pacific.
“Fuck me—don’t let the suits or the clients see this or we’re all royally fucked. Nicely done. Now delete the whole bloody thing and destroy all the back-ups!”
Connan ‘I-live-on-a-boat’ James, Freelance Creative Director & Consultant
“Todd and Juggi have done a truckload of great work over the years but the ‘Deck of Brilliance’ just might be the best thing they have ever done. This labour of love is a game changer for an industry that really needs one.”
John McCabe, ECD and TV Show Creator
“Who knew there were so many ways to communicate and sell? Juggi and Todd have formalized, categorized and shown examples of so many effective approaches to reach a customer and/or build a brand, one can’t help but be inspired.”
Ted Royer, CCO, Droga5
“What a great idea! I’m shocked that I can’t find any way to claim credit for it—surely I must have been standing in the room when they thought it up? No, it appears not, so I will just say, hats off to the guys. This concept is long overdue and really seems to work. It’s clear that a lot of hard work and thought has gone into it and it should prove a game-changer for hard-pressed creatives up against constant deadlines.”
Malcolm Pryce, Novelist and Copywriter.
“Wanted to take a second out of my Saturday to say thanks. This tool deck is beyond helpful and will greatly help current and future students. Hell, it might even put me out of a job. Or, hopefully keep me employed for finding such brilliance like this.”
Paul Korel, Teacher/Senior Advisor for the Copy Program, The Creative Circus, Atlanta.
“Shock news! Ad people found to be on new Creative Steroids! I’m sure this will turn out to be illegal, because it’s a very unfair performance enhancing advantage over the poor sods who can’t afford it. What do you mean it’s FREE?”
Steve Elrick, Creative Director
“There are many ‘tools’ in advertising that over complicate, undermine and devalue the creative process. On the contrary, this set of brilliant ones encourage, enhance and enable it. I’m sure they will prove invaluable for both young and old minds alike.”
Andrew Tinning, ECD, SHEDcsc.
“I’d love to say that this is an incredibly helpful tool for when you’re stuck but it’s really just an incredibly helpful tool no matter where you are in the creative process. It’s great to see so many different ways into a problem in one place.”
David Baldwin, Founder/Lead Guitar, Baldwin&
“I have gone through workshops that have tried to dissect thinking and idea approaches, but this is in a league of its own. Really well thought through. Well written and illustrated idea generation tools. This deck is easy to use and so it will be used. It really proves the ‘science of our art’.”
Linda Locke, CEO & Creative Director, Godmother Consulting
“Yeah, loving it, I’ve already used it with a client…nice job the pair of you.”
Steve Back, Creative Partner, JOY.
“It will help the junior creative get a seat at the table, and the senior creative keep his seat at the table.”
Joel Clement, International Creative Director
“This is crazy solid work. The thinking is sharp and the examples are great. I have been using most of these tools without really paying attention and it’s inspiring to see something you do every day from another perspective. If the problem/objective is well defined, I’m sure you just need to confront it with one of these tools to generate tons of great ideas.”
Nicolas Courant, ECD, Ogilvy Singapore.
“This deck kicks arse. It kicks tired creatives’ arses out of the ruts they were stuck in and reminds them there are many different ways to think about any problem.”
Craig Love, Regional ECD, Y&R Redfuse.
“I am loving reading the deck of brilliance. Such an inspiration. I’d make it mandatory for anyone getting into the industry. Like David Ogilvy’s confessions. I just can’t believe you are giving this away for free! It’s like a magic wand for creatives.”
Rasjida Bouharrak, Managing Partner, Ogilvy London.
“The pressure to deliver good ideas is almost unfair these days. And 16 hour days are the norm every day. The Deck of Brilliance has just made the days shorter and has given us our weekends back. Creative people helping each other is the best news I’ve heard in years. It’s very inspiring because you can clean out the old thinking and reboot the brain. The site is easy to grasp, the breadth of ideas available and the easy access to examples makes this a one-stop hot shop. Juggi and Todd, hats off to you.”
Richard Copping, ECD, Saatchi & Saatchi UAE.
“It’s every creative person’s wet dream. And … wait for it … it’s free. Or should I say, it’s a gift.”
Paul Ruta, Creative Director/Copywriter
“The Deck of Brilliance is one of those tools that can make the most average of us to go beyond mediocrity and empower us to think, create, shape and communicate better. Hopefully it will open the floodgates where advertising ideas can flow more freely/democratically and solutions can become more accessible.”
Arvind Srivastava, President, Strategic Planning, Ogilvy China.
“Like all great ideas, you wonder why no one thought of it before”
Stephen Mangham, CEO, Mangham Gaxiola McGarryBowen
“I love the whole idea. I found the website extremely simple and well designed. A powerful tool for every creative. Its truly a labour of love.”
Rajiv Rao, National Creative Director, Ogilvy India
“Love what you have done here. And I really appreciate the time and effort you’ve put in making this so simple and consise. A big thanks from all us creatives around the globe.”
Cam Watts, Art Director
“Off-the-scale genius booster for anyone in the ideas business.”
Benoit Wiesser, Head of Strategy, Integration & Effectiveness, Ogilvy Asia-Pacific.
“Really, really love the Deck of Brilliance. Thank you for doing it and making it accessible to us all.”
William Mathovani, Senior Creative, BBDO Dubai
“So many cool ideas in here! Already can see it being useful for coming up with story ideas for talks and blog posts.”
Melinda Seckington, Developer at @FutureLearn, Blogger at missgeeky.com
“(C’est) la première bible pédagogique pour les créatifs.”
INfluencia.net, La revue de l’innovation, de la communication et des tendences