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Jim Haven co-founded Creature in 2002 and serves as co-executive creative director of the agency. His role is not just to keep the Creature perspective on the work, but to energize and enable the agency to think in new ways. Before founding Creature with Matt Peterson, he had years of copywriting experience that took him from Portland to San Francisco on to Amsterdam and, finally, Seattle. He still likes to write whenever possible and is searching the world to find the perfect pizza.

11.01.11

Between Creativity and Luck

If you have a degree in what field is it? I have an English degree with an emphasis in professional writing.

If you could choose one person to work with (outside your own agency), who would it be? This one is easy: Banksy. His wit and the potency of his messages are inspiring and funny.

Who was the client for your first advertising project? Our first client was a brand relaunch for the Professional Bowlers Association.

If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do? I think it would be fun to be a winemaker.

What do you consider to be the greatest headline of all time? My friend Josh Denberg wrote a line for Keystone that simply read, “Poof, you’re insignificant.” I’ve always loved it.

From where do your best ideas originate? Good ideas, for me, are a non-linear process. I can think hard about solving a problem, but more often than not, the answer comes to me once I stop thinking about it directly.

How do you overcome a creative block? I go for a long run if possible.

If you could choose any product to create an ad for, what would it be? As a car guy, I would love to work in that world again. But I’m also super interested in energy and its future so that’s on my list as well.

Do you have creative outlets other than advertising? I like to fly fish; it takes a great deal of creativity and a perfect presentation to convince a wise trout that your fly is legit. I also enjoy cooking with my wife; it’s a cross between creativity and luck.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? I think you have to live your life and find a comfortable way of merging the two. That way it’s not an on or off button. You can’t create work that inspires living if you’re not doing so yourself. Every once in a while you just need to have a shutdown or you’ll be worthless.

What product/gadget can you not live without? Coffee is the most amazing gadget I know of.

What’s your favorite quote? “The multitude was kept quiet by the morsels of meat which were flung to it...” —James Anthony Froude, Caesar; a sketch

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? You can’t always outsmart someone, but you can often outwork them.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? The Internet.