Syahid Nordin (Art Director) and Danny Jones (Copywriter) hail from University of Central Lancashire. The guys are creative graduates, well, just about. Recently they have picked up a D&AD New Blood Pencil for FordGo.
The two describe themselves as ‘A combination of two opposite worlds coming together. Never settling, and always thinking. We are Equal, and Equalworks.’
Briefly describe your path to university
We come from very diverse backgrounds. Danny was a working at a warehouse whilst Syahid arrived after completing two years of mandatory National Service.
"We spent a solid few minutes trying to figure out each other’s accents."
After which, Danny took a comfortable train ride from Liverpool whilst Syahid took a butt crunching 18 hour trip from Singapore towards University of Central Lancashire, Preston. Our first meeting was at Syahid’s flat where we spent a solid few minutes trying to figure out each other’s accents.
Why a career in advertising?
Danny might have gotten slightly lied to after being told that he could drink during office hours and not get fired for it, but Syahid knew better than to fall for that. But in all honesty, the lure of getting paid to think and come up with innovative ideas and solutions everyday was the main driving factor behind our decisions.
What’s been the highlight whilst studying?
We are lucky that our tutors are well connected. We have spoken to and worked with many distinguished industry pros like Simon Higby, Mark Elwood, Paul Burke, and Billy Mawhiney to name a few. We learnt the art of name dropping from our tutor Mitch Walker because he does it everyday. We also found out he has Sir Paul McCartney’s and Pele’s number in his iPhone which we’re still trying to hack into.
What’s your best piece of work and why?
We had our fair share of crap, decent and the good. However between the both of us, FordGo has to be our favourite thus far. It’s representative of how we are as a team - tell a story through a simple idea, and solve old problems with new technology. The best part? It just won us a D&AD New Blood Pencil. Brilliant.
What makes you different to other creative teams?
Our team name is Equal, and there is great meaning behind that. Although we play our own roles, Syahid/Art and Danny/Copy, we occasionally swap roles so that we can be an all rounded creative pairing.
"Danny is a born and bred Liverpool die hard, whilst Syahid is nothing but United."
We also stand on the opposite sides of the football spectrum. Danny is a born and bred Liverpool die hard, whilst Syahid is nothing but United supporter, and that makes for a very interesting partnership. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we make sure we get the job done.
What did you learn from your time working at agencies like Tribal, TBWA & Mullen?
Speed is crucial in the real world, so we replicate it into our everyday workflow in university. We set goals at the start of each morning and don’t leave till we’re done. More often than not, we find ourselves the last ones out. The security guards can vouch for that.
"We use a method of penning down quick thoughts and ideas called the ’60-boxes-rule’."
Work wise, we use a method of penning down quick thoughts and ideas called the “60-boxes-rule” that Syahid learnt at Tribal Worldwide Singapore (thank you Joji and Vinod!). We’ve never managed to fill up all 60, but it has saved us many times, and we hope it’ll help other creatives out there.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Aim for simple but big ideas for brands that hasn’t been thought of before. Easy to say, but incredibly hard to achieve. That is what we are aiming for.
Where do you want to be in five years?
"Work that helps our parents understand what our job is."
5 years is quite some time in an agency lifespan isn’t it? If we survive till then, we’d like to have done a piece of work that helps our parents understand what our job is, and be proud enough to share our work on their social media accounts. We just did it with our D&AD New Blood Pencil, and we’d like that feeling again. That’d be sick.
Tell us your best joke?
And finally, if you could share a desk with anyone from the past, present or future, who would it be?
Oooooh this is a good one. Syahid will try his best to grow a sick beard (but fail) to sit alongside Dan Wieden. Danny would probably shave his locks off to have the opposite desk from Sir John Hegarty.
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