When finding the best creative talent, the three things that matter are: curation, curation, curation

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Having spent over 20 years traveling the world putting together video and photo shoots, I have for some time been perplexed by the lack of cohesive data available to anyone looking to hire creative talent. It's no wonder that brands and agencies seem to play it so safe.

The thing is, you can no longer rely on production houses and creative source platforms, such as Vimeo (only 15,000 or so of their 1m users are listed as "for hire"), to find you the best and up and coming talent, because the landscape has changed. There is now more need for flexibility - freelance is queen and so are certain "new" creative roles, such as, UX/UI, AR/VR, 3d Design, Artist, SFX and so on. It's where the growth and demand often is, combined with more traditional roles such as Creative Director, DoP, Graphic Designer and Editor.

Even in the field of video production, the broader demand for digital, with much lower budgets than TV, warrant a different type of solution (the production house/director combo is not going to cut it here).

What about gaming, a massive growth area and one that has been dominated by technologists for years. Riccitiello, CEO at Unity, recently outlined the industries path to growing within organisations:


Growing our penetration with artists is key to this effort. When I worked in gaming, the ratio of artists to technical personnel on game teams was about 1:1. Today, artists outnumber technologists at least 2:1, and it's quickly adding a 5:1 or more 


So, when looking for certain types of creative talent there are newer source platforms to consider; Behance, Dribbble, ArtStation to name but a few. Add in the more traditional go to sources, such as AdForum, LeBook and Ads of the World, you'll start to get a better picture of the creative landscape and how broad it is. More to the point, how difficult it can be to find the right talent across so many - way in excess of 50 - creative talent source platforms (not all of them much use).

There is also so much depth on these platforms, Behance have 4.2m creatives, Eyeem 490,000 and The-Dots 460,000, for example. So, if you are looking for a photographer, you might consider these as good sources - but why stop there? What about being able to find the right photographer in one search, across 13 or more source platforms?


We highlight the best creative talent from each source so you can search through just those, not hundreds of thousands or even millions of pointless choices.

From our curated selection you can browse through a choice of 50,000 or so photographers, but that's without adding in other filters, such as Sector, Medium, Country and Experience, which would take the number down. You can then, if you wish, deselect some of the 13 source platforms, with results, to narrow your choice down further - after all, we all have our preferred sources -


although that often comes from habit rather than knowledge


Our platform will vastly speed up the process of finding the very best talent, at the same time helping you broaden your scope. What makes this type of multi-searching even more useful is that you can save all of your search results, which means you don't have to do the same search over and over, as you would have ever time you revisited a source platform.

All these and more source platforms combine to make for a broad spectrum of sites to search from when looking for your next superstar creative talent, be that freelance or longer term contract. Searching one by one is difficult, time consuming and more importantly impossible to compare profiles, as they vary so much across platforms. A graphic designer from Dribbble versus one from The Talent Manager, is not an easy comparison to make.

Curation Zone make this process much easier; normalising the data across all source platforms to allow you to compare apples to apples.


We aren't replicating or dis-intermediating the existing platforms, rather we act as a "platform of platforms", using AI to create an up to date index of creative talent across many platforms - a little like the Google of creative talent discovery


Up to 80% of the talent found on most source platforms, we'd not consider of decent quality. For example, over 25% of Behance creatives claim to perform a certain role, but we found no evidence of them doing so, at all.


Cutting out the creative talent that have weak profiles is a big part of what we do.


But, at the same time, we are always looking for rising talent, so the algorithms are built to allow for this.

The current roster of 15 source platforms we evaluate

We spent 10 months learning how each source platform works, how their search works and how they recommend or commend the best of their talent. Once we discover how a site works we can easily recommend only the top and best rising talent from each source platform.

For example, Dribbble have over 1,200,000 creatives on their platform, but around 30,000 of them are the most talented, according to Dribbble, so these are the ones we mostly focus on. The other 970,000 or so, we leave for another day - our evaluation is fluid, we revisit each site at least once per month.


Why get bogged down by talent appearing in search results that you don't need to see?


All these platforms have their own curation system, which we analyse, we then present that data in a way that enables apples to apples comparison; this equates to our curation. Finally, you curate from the results each search suggests - your curation.

We then process the data from each of your searches and feed that back into your results, a 4th curation, you could say. But of course that is one too many to fit nicely into the 1944 Harold Samuel property quote "location, location, location", so let's stick with the 3.


Curation, curation, curation, it's what makes the difference

You can also save your search results, revisit, revise and share them as a Project, so none of your hard - searching and evaluation - work is lost. Shortlist, thumb up or down tools are also useful ways of saving and sharing your selections with your team.

Over the next week or so we'll be adding: ArtStation, Ads of Brands, David Reviews and Free the Work as source platforms, with more to follow soon. If you spend more time than you'd like - who doesn't? - trying to find the right creative talent, request a demo here.

Thanks again to James Thomas and Dentsu for helping us get this far...not forgetting Barry Davidson too.

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