Last month, Lucky Generals launched a set of creativity cards, based loosely on the book ‘Go Luck Yourself’, by the agency's founder Andy Nairn.
With all profits from the venture going to Commercial Break, an organisation created to help working class talent in the creative industries, the 40 provocations are designed to challenge creative block by considering ways people and businesses have made their own luck.
The cards are illustrated by one of the agency's designers, Lana Zantis and serve as an easy tool to solve problems creatively. The cards are on sale at Amazon now.
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with Andy to hear more about the deck.
LBB> In the two years since I last spoke to you about Go Luck Yourself, where has the project gone? Has it led to any surprising results?
Andy> It’s been a lovely journey of discovery! There have been lots of fun moments, like realizing that Amazon’s algorithm asks, “Did you mean Go Fuck Yourself?” when you search for the book. Also some proud ones, like hitting Amazon best-seller status and winning Gold at the 2022 Creative Circle Awards. Signing Korean and Chinese translation deals was pretty mind-boggling too.
But of course, the most satisfying thing has been the way it’s helped working class talent, through our chosen cause Commercial Break. So far, we’ve raised over £32,000 from royalties, licensing fees and donations in kind. And with the launch of the cards, that is only set to grow.
LBB> Where did the idea for the cards come from?
Andy> I structured the book as a set of short, snappy chapters, with lots of practical tips. People seemed to really like that, so I thought about how to push it to the next level. Also, I was very conscious that some people think more visually, so I wondered if a more pictorial approach might work. When I asked one of our designers, the very talented Lana Zantis, to create some initial illustrations, it became clear that this could be a lovely extension of GLY.
LBB> How did you choose the 40 ideas for the cards?
Andy> Some of them were based on stories in the book that had gone down particularly well. But most of them were new.
I didn’t want to just rehash the book. So while some of the cards are borrowed from the book, most are new. Apart from anything, the much tighter, visual format meant that long stories (that might have been great in print) didn’t fit. These ones needed to work really quickly. Tell the story with an illustration and a few words – then make it useful with a pithy bit of advice. Like a lot of things, it was the distillation and editing down which took the time.
LBB> And then how did you categorise them and put some kind of structure into the deck?
Andy> I used the structure of the book, as there was a bit of science behind that. In my research, I found four different ways to improve your luck: appreciate what you’ve got; look out for opportunities everywhere; turn misfortune into good fortune; and practise being lucky every day.
This format really worked well as a deck of cards, as it allowed us to create four suits of ten cards. Then users can use them entirely randomly, or in a more structured way – e.g. by working through the suits sequentially or dividing into four teams.
LBB> Did you put them through any testing at Lucky Generals?
Andy> Yes, most importantly I checked them to make sure there were no cultural mistakes. Beyond that, it was more about usability: were the stories quick enough, were the visuals immediately recognisable, was there any overlap and so on.
LBB> Have you seen them in action yet? What sort of impact do you think they'll have?
Andy> It’s obviously early days, but in the first week, somebody contacted me to say (and I quote): “The courier delivering the GLY cards interrupted a Teams brainstorm today. Cracked them open during the call and already have some lucky ideas off them.” This will probably land me in the ‘Didn’t Happen of the Year Awards’ but I think is a good sign. They’re certainly selling really well – and seem to be boosting sales of the book too.
LBB> Who's going to be lucky this year?
Andy> The truth is that it’s probably rich, white, straight, able-bodied men (like me, it must be said). Because that’s the way society is set up: Warren Buffett calls it “winning the Ovarian lottery”.
But I’d like to think that good fortune would be better spread around. And if you’re not born into privilege, all the more reason to be conscious of your luck and actively try to change it for the better.