“A battle cry for the burnt out”: Air releases manifesto for creative directors in crisis

Air is the creative operations company that helps to streamline workspaces; its new manifesto uncovers how better systems might be the answer to re-finding your creative spark.

17 January 2024

Have you ever felt like your creative career leaves you with little time or capacity to actually create? From time spent number-crunching to tight timesheets, many things can get in the way of making things you’re actually proud of. It’s something the creative operations platform Air has tackled head-on with a new manifesto called Space to Breathe. Following six years of conversations and collaboration, Air has launched the 55-page call to arms to inspire creatives to get their time back, create meaningful work, and take a moment to breathe.

The team at Air produced the manifesto with one main argument: that in a modern, highly-digitised era, the creative world has come to something of an impasse. With so much creative work now existing online – in chaotic Dropbox folders, Google Drives, email inboxes and more – busy creative practitioners are spending too much time using a whole spread of inefficient and chaotic systems. The manifesto speaks to the problem and presents a new vision for the future of creative work, drawing from Air’s expertise in solving these operational issues. “We built Air for the world we are now living in,” says Air CEO Shane Hedges. “Creative needs room to create. Ideas need space.”

GalleryAir: Space to Breathe (Copyright © Air, 2023)

Broken down into four sections, the manifesto traverses a journey most working creatives have experienced – or are maybe even in the midst of now. Part one, Stunned, delves into the impact of an over-saturation of images and content. Air goes on to explore the positive impact of exploration on originality and the need for streamlined, efficient systems. Finally, in part four, we learn just how new ways of working and automation can become a means of manifesting space to breathe outside of the confines of day-to-day logistics.

The manifesto is complemented with imagery that mimics the complex feelings at the heart of the problem. While some of the more visceral and raw images tackle the frustration many creatives are experiencing, others present a sense of lightweight calm, encouraging us to see the real freedom that can emerge from looking at how we organise our time. All of this is housed within a high-quality publication printed by the leading Belgian printing company Die Keure.

GalleryAir: Space to Breathe (Copyright © Air, 2023)


Air: Space to Breathe (Copyright © Air, 2023)

When entering such a mammoth project that analyses the very inner workings of the creative world, the team at Air became aware that they weren’t the creative practitioners who face the problems they’re trying to solve. “In order to describe it in a way that feels authentic and real, we knew we had to work with folks embedded in the creative community,” says Shane. Air turned to art director and graphic designer Paul Raffaele, fashion zine-maker and DJ Barbie Bertisch, and Made in Network’s Ryan J Mack to create the final vision.

Air doesn’t claim to have all the answers, and accepts that people may not share its vision – it simply wants to spark conversation. “When I was a kid, one of the most challenging things was being frustrated without having the words to describe why. You’d sit there, red-faced and clenching your fists, but you didn’t have the language to solve it,” ends Shane. “We hope this manifesto helps people articulate what they’re feeling – regardless whether they believe that we are correct on how we can solve it.” So if you’re looking to better understand your creative rut and see the potential for new ways of working, look no further than Space to Breathe.

GalleryAir: Space to Breathe (Copyright © Air, 2023)

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Air automates how you collect, approve, and share content. We call this Creative Ops. Learn more at space.air.inc.

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Air: Space to Breathe (Copyright © Air, 2023)

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