My Creative Life

WT's Chloe Grindle on Colourful Homes, Imaginary Friends, and Creative Mornings

The creative director of Wunderman Thompson UK reveals what keeps her creative life so vibrant

By Chloe Grindle

Big colour

Standing in the yellow Mexican town of Izamal, it feels like the place was painted by the Sun when the Sun was in the best mood of its life. It’s a town of infectious happiness, optimism and energy, purely because every building is bright yellow. Colour on this scale has a transformative effect. Edi Rama, the mayor of rundown, crime infested Tirana in Albania took residents by surprise when he painted the whole town with bursting colour. The impact was instant: people stopped living in fear and started to enjoy their city again. Big colour is the reason behind most of my holiday destinations: from Miami’s Art Deco pastels to Positano’s vibrant hillside patchwork, what could be more creatively restorative and invigorating than a week immersed in colour? 

Right now, I’m on holiday in Twickenham, painting my new house and using colour to create the moods I want each room to spark. My son’s room is playful pink and green, the bathroom is fresh apricot, the lounge is feelgood turquoise. It won't be for everyone - we’re keeping the spare room neutral for guests who need a break from the rest of the house - but to me, being surrounded by colour is life, joy, and energy: everything I want my home to give me.

The community that lives within the greeting cards on the windowsill

A dinosaur carrying presents on its head roars ‘Happy Birthday’ to my son. A crocheted frog hopes we love our new home. An ice lolly blushes in its party hat. A community of beings has sprung up on the greeting cards on our mantelpiece and exists only to celebrate the lovely stuff. In what other world does a bear get to sit on an elephant’s trunk holding a balloon that says ‘yay’? It’s the relationships I’m interested in. It’s very much a ‘more than the sum of its parts’ situation: each card on its own? Meh. But when they get together, that’s where it becomes creative. I like to imagine these characters are the population of a small island and listen in on the council meetings they hold.


This one was a toss up between mornings and leaves. Leaves, to me, feel like one of the original genres of creativity: they’ve been around forever, and are so abundant in their diversity and with such therapeutic effects, how could they not be? But I feel like you probably know leaves are great. Mornings, however, are marmite. Now, I’d argue that mornings are an even more original form of creativity: the sun has been creating new days since before most other things were even things. And creativity breeds creativity. I’ve always loved mornings. When I was on placement at McCann years ago I’d get in at 8 am and write pages and pages on whatever brief we were on and spend the rest of the day culling and crafting. When I lived in New York, I used to take poetry writing classes and mornings before work were always my favourite time to write. I think it’s the same kind of endorphin rush as going for an early morning run if you’re into that sort of thing. Getting into the ‘flow’, as psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it, early on in the day, feels like it sets you up right so you can be creative for the rest of the day.

Chloe Grindle is the Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson UK


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