The great thing about being on holiday and not knowing the language is that you start looking at a word with fresh eyes. Everything from posters, TV ads, leaflets to museum displays are stripped of absolute clarity. I really noticed this when I was away in Japan for two weeks. In European countries, you can often make out sense from individual words you know. In Japan, the character set was completely different, so I had no idea what the nice girl smiling at me was selling. Could have been life insurance, could have been vitamin pills!

So use your trip to refresh your senses as to why you choose certain shots over others, or ways of laying out text on the screen. Look at how the information is presented, what images mean to you without language prompts. See what cultural differences there are in the way information is presented (telephone numbers are a very literal example, or look where they put the main call to action on posters). When you get back, look at your latest projects in the same light, see how you can use this ‘fresh view’ to improve your work.


Gavin Ricketts is a Producer/Director with twenty year's experience. His book on writing CVs for the creative industries has helped Film and TV Crew win more work.


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