Meet: Andy Sandoz

Andy Sandoz is a founder, creative partner, and innovation director at Havas Work Club. He’s also been a member of D&AD since 2001, served as the organization’s deputy president this past year — and now he’s stepping up as president. In anticipation of his term, we caught up with Andy to talk making mistakes, creating the future, and not fucking it up.

The Mag: Of the work you’ve seen so far this year, what sticks out the most?

AS: “Nazis against Nazis” which won a D&AD White Pencil earlier this year.

An idea that for every mile walked in a pro Nazi march, money is donated to an Nazi opt-out group. Hate march becomes charity walk against hate march. It’s such a fantastic and polite fuck you.

It’s also a hack. Digital culture writ large.


The Mag: What are the biggest mistakes creatives are currently making?

AS: The biggest mistakes creatives are currently making is to not make enough mistakes.

It’s part of a the job. Bigger the better. It’s part of the process for ideas. Bigger the better. So whatever mistake you are doing, keep doing it, until it explodes, or almost does, then stop, quickly, and try something else risky.

As a network we must create structures and freedom for our creatives to experiment. To dream up a different future. Because doing things the same, and expecting different answer is madness.

Set the creative free and celebrate mistakes.

Best guesses, experimentation, and scientific method are the only way forward into a future that is so unpredictable.


The Mag: What recent trends in digital design or advertising most excite you?

AS: Awakening of potential. We’re starting to realize that while these jobs are very personally rewarding, they can be also very socially rewarding, and that what we do can have a positive impact on the world around us. And it’s about time. We’ve a lot of problems to solve.

We can create our future, we can design it.

The world appears to be going to hell in a hand cart, so we need to start using the skills we possess to either fix it or GTFO.


The Mag: What will be your main focus as D&AD president?

AS: More weird. For positive impact.

I’d like to champion creative confidence in thinking differently, and use science and technology as the basis for that thought.

With the ever nearing event horizon of artificial intelligence and the Singularity, I believe the opportunity for humanity is to be less robotic and more human. And humans are beautifully weird.

We need ideas that have a positive influence on the world around us. We need innovation to do things differently. We need to realize the potential in our client’s business to create meaningful change. And that isn’t going to come from thinking like we have been doing. We need to get weird. The opportunities are huge.

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” – Hunter S Thompson.


The Mag: What are two or three initiatives that you aim to accomplish during your term?

AS: The key fact within D&AD is its not-for-profit status. So everything we do cycles back into our industry via learning. It’s a virtuous circle. Win a Pencil, teach someone else how you won a Pencil. We all grow.

So we’re looking at expanding Judging Week to create more of this energy and bring more people together to celebrate the work. We’ll also push into new markets for bigger influence and strengthen our New Blood program globally focusing on next gen talent and diversity.

If you want to help, create great work and enter it. It helps support the industry that supports you.

But really, you need to ask me after my year as I’m more intuitive than planner. We’ll find our way. What happens is unpredictable, I’ll defer to Mike Tyson: ‘Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face.’


The Mag: What motto or philosophy drives you personally and/or the team at Work Club?

AS: We have “Don’t Fuck It Up” beautifully hand-painted on our office wall. It reminds us to have something fuck-uppable in our work at all times. Something interesting and dangerous that could explode in our faces — but to never actually let it do so. Be dangerous but be careful.

It’s also nicely self referential, writing “fuck” two meters wide on a office wall is in itself kinda risky. Worked though.


The Mag: You wrote a piece on Medium about good creatives having a “thing.” What’s your “thing” right now?

AS: ’90s cyberpunk. I’m back where I was in my teens re-reading William Gibson and Philip K Dick. Standing in a Shibuya games arcade, as I was last week, and channelling Neuromancer is a sensorial overload. And very weird.

A new thing doesn’t need to be a new thing and time is a flat circle.