The best we can do, for now
WeTransfer doubles down on support for creatives in lockdown
WeTransfer has a habit of standing up for the things it believes in. A habit of rooting for the underdog, of using our position to make a difference. And while we don’t have a great deal of experience with global pandemics, it’s a sentiment that seems to matter now, more than ever.
Without physical connection, people are reliant on the digital world – whether it’s for work, for play, or to connect and create. So, as a media company, as an enabler, as a set of tools that live online, we want to use our digital presence to do what we can to help.
Creativity is the common thread in everything we do at WeTransfer. It inspires empathy, solutions, hope, but also helps us to understand the unfamiliar. Yet in times of upheaval, it’s often the creative industry that takes the biggest hit and takes the longest to recover.
This affects the work we do but, more pressingly, it affects the people we care about – our peers, our colleagues, our families, our friends. With galleries, cultural centers and performance venues closing their doors, it’s never been more critical to support and protect the creative community. So we’ll be using our platforms to do exactly that.
Since the beginning, WeTransfer has donated 30% of its full screen advertising space (better known as wallpapers) to artists we admire and causes we care about. In 2019 that amounted to more than five billion ad impressions, including global campaigns to support gun reform, net neutrality and climate change.
Starting today, we’ll ramp this up. Giving away an additional 500 million impressions (worth around $5 million) to support our global community of artists and collaborators. We reached out to some of the featured artists to share their thoughts on creativity during lockdown. Here's a conceptual quote from Shirin Abedinirad, whose work is pictured below.
"My body is imprisoned in my own home by my own decision but can I imprison my thoughts? Mind is a universe by which you can travel into the past, future and this moment that is just here. When I look at the sky it is the same as always, clouds are passing slowly, the wind is blowing and it is shaking the leaves in my garden and I hear its sound. We live freely in our minds. When artists are in jail, they can imagine the freedom even if they are not free and now we are all have our limitations but no-one can limit your soul. In quarantine I am the same mind but with more time to travel in my own universe."
Let’s be honest, with things slowing down on the advertising front we might as well put the space to good use. That’s why we’ll also give a platform to the emerging initiatives creatives can turn to during a time of professional despair.
Lifeboat is one of those initiatives. Its founder Jake Naughton explains,
“Lifeboat arose out of a combination of free time and anxiety. Like most photographers, I saw all of my work prospects disappear nearly overnight, and I also know that artists are almost always the last priority in recovery efforts. Though I'm not in a position to help anyone financially, I do have other resources to add: I'm good at community building, and can make a halfway decent website pretty quickly. At the same time, I knew that a lot of my friends with day jobs were now working from home, with money still coming in and a desire to help (plus they were likely spending a lot of time looking at blank walls). I wanted to connect these two communities, and so Lifeboat was born.”
So that’s what we’re doing from a media standpoint. But we also offer a set of indispensable tools for creatives, can we help here as well?
People in the creative industry and beyond are adjusting to new and unfamiliar ways of working. Whether you’re pitching from your kitchen or designing while you homeschool, we’re offering free access to tools that’ll ease the friction of sharing your ideas.
We’ve waived the fees for new teams signing up to Paste Pro, our collaborative tool for building and pitching big ideas. We’re also giving Paper users (and the Paper-curious) free access to our favourite journals in the Paper Store. Packed with tips, tricks and how-tos, the journals have been a lesson planning lifesaver for my kids as well as a way for us all to quieten our minds.
Plus all content on our storytelling site, WePresent, will remain free and accessible for everyone.
While these initiatives won’t bring things back to normal, we want to encourage people to keep creating, to (re)discover their imagination and bring hope to someone’s day or a smile to someone’s face.
If you have any ideas about how we can give more or do better, please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.