The Drum recently ran an article titled “How Seattle became a magnet for creative minds.” In it, Doug Zanger traces various agencies through the years and highlights what makes their creative approach unique compared to other markets. But honestly, the creative spirit in Seattle runs much deeper than the agencies that thrive in it. And that spirit is alive, well thriving, here at DNA.
But let’s back up. Seattle shouldn’t exist. It sits at the base of a volcano, along a fault line and literally carved into the hills surrounding it. The people of Seattle refuse to let anything stand in their way. There’s a will to succeed that is inherent in the history of the land the city is built on and a real tension in the very earth we walk every day. The city is full of contrasts that force us to be creative. Urban & Nature, Tech & Craft and Right & Left Brain.
Seattle, more than any city I know of, is in a continual cycle of boom and bust. Logging birthed the city only to have it all burned down to the ground. Instead of letting go we just built the new city right on top of the old one. From the Gold Rush to the rise of Boeing each iteration of Seattle is built on the past but becomes so much more than the previous generation could imagine. Taking the old and breathing new life into it is at the heart of what makes Seattle so creative. Take music. Our most famous movement, grunge, was the love child of hard rock and punk. Seattle is surrounded by water and instead of doing the easy thing and building away from it, we embraced it and built bridges over it, tunnels under it and even houses on top of it. There is such a drive in this city to do what can’t be done and it shows in everything this city does.
Because we’re so far north, we’ve felt ignored or forgotten and that puts a big chip on our collective shoulders. We’ve had to be supportive of each other and build a creative community based on respect and the desire to see each other succeed. And by being such a long way from Madison Avenue, Seattle has had to work extra hard to stand out. We have no choice but to be more creative than larger advertising cities. It forces us to use innovation and technology in a way that no other city does. Our community is a creative, not advertising, community. We collaborate with designers, artists, chef’s, really anyone who approaches things from a different point of view.
We’re different up here in the Pacific Northwest. Our NFL team meditates, we paint our crosswalks with pride rainbows and we use goats to prune our weeds. We’re all odd little creative types and we revel in that. And at DNA, it’s something we love.