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Brandish Axioms: What it means to “Go into the woods”

By Brandish Agency

An axiom is a statement that is taken to be true and/or a starting point for further reasoning and arguments. At Brandish, we use axioms to share overarching ideas to deepen our understanding of what we do and unify our team.

As part of our culture, we created a deck of axioms we often point to in our day-to-day work to explain the how and why of our work. These are ideas our team collectively understands. 

In this post, we’re talking about our first axiom: Going into the woods.

Ambiguity is rich in potential for exploration and discovery. Going into the woods is the axiom we use to describe when we purposefully look to go deep into the thick of a problem and find our way out on the other side. Often this is said by an individual who is going to spend dedicated and focused time on a project.

For each axiom, each team member develops their own perspective on how it applies to their own work.

Here’s what “Going into the woods” meant for our Leadership Team:

Morley MacDougall, Managing Partner & Creative Director

“Going into the woods is a mental and metaphorical process of discovery. It’s that uneasy place where you have to get lost in a problem before you can come to clarity on the other side.”

Lee Waltham, Managing Partner & Marketing Director

“Put simply, going into the woods is when you’re fully immersed in a task, forgetting about the outside world.”

Derek Elliott, Partner & Director of Accounts

“Going into the woods means clearing your schedule and taking necessary time to focus on a meaningful solution to a pressing challenge.”

Alexandra Martin, Director of Brand

“You only go into the woods when you’re ready for rigour and silence—both of which (to me) are required for smart creative.”

Danny Wood, Product Director

“Going into the Woods means giving your entire focus to a task for a period of time, which implies sacrifice. You’re saying, “this is so important that I need to leave everything else behind for a minute”

Suzanne Pringle, HR & Office Manager

“I go into the woods to connect with the roots of creation and free myself from the limiting constructs of what I thought was “correct”.”

Dan Nicholson, Performance Marketing Director

“A place where you’re singularly-focused and constant trial and error charts your path to the strongest outcome.”

Justine Dechaine, Operations Manager

“For me, going into the woods is somewhat meditative. It’s a way to slow down and hyper-focus on a problem, reflect on your progress and intentionally craft an effective solution.”

Paulo Ferreira, Manager of Design Services

“Our Design Team goes into the woods to immerse themselves in the challenge, free of constraints and external judgement, just the problem and all the (im)possible ideas.”

These individual perspectives show us that documenting the creative process is important in order to refine that process. Reflecting on how you approached a specific challenge can help you improve your approach for future challenges. This axioms identifies that “getting lost” or “feeling uncomfortable” is not inherently bad, but instead a marker that this is an opportunity to exercise your creative muscle.

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