Inspiration: Chalkboard Typography

Simply beautiful. That's all I have for you today. Some lovely type on chalkboard executions. No computers. Just a set of skilled hands and a good pair of eyes. (There are tutorials on how to fake it in Photoshop though - if your hands are unsteady traitors like mine are.)

Be inspired.

Marvellous Chalkboard Typography

PauloGabriel Tue, 12/04/2012 - 14:37

Everybody loves a beautiful set of typography, but there's one style in specific that really catches everyone's attention. It's chalkboard typography... a handmade wonder for everyone's delight.

These are some examples of awesome chalkboard types done by some really talented artists, because it's clear that being made in a chalkboard by itself won't make any type beautiful, but it depends on the hand behind it... people with an eye for beautiful handmade typography. Don't forget to visit their portfolios for more of these! They'll appreciate it. Cheers. ;)

Typos, Tyops & Mispellings

Truth be told, I'm a bit of a fiend about spelling and grammar. The Internet short-hand and texting have practically ruined all that is good and sacred about the English language.

I got a text from my cousin recently that had "gud" "kool" "wud" and "i no rite!" and bits of my heart chipped off and fell into a deep abyss. It was pretty painful.

But he’s 18. (Not that it's acceptable, but I just don't trust anyone born after 1990 to understand anything.)

When I see adults, especially people at work, write foolishness like this, I want to beat them with a hot pipe.

Don’t let words make you look stupid (wrote about it here but felt it was worthy of repeating and ramming down your throats one more time).

A simple typo or misspelling can totally change the meaning of your sentence. And are a personal in the communications field - it kinda helps to be able to communicate effectively.

Here are some commonly misspelled and misused words that I need you to get right before 2013.

And while we’re at it. It’s A (space) LOT. Not ALOT. This site has a funny and memorable way to help you get it right.
The Alot is Better Than You At Everything.  

Tell your friends to tell their friends to tell their friends.

10 Most Innovative Viral Video Ads of 2012

First and foremost, let's just be clear that you don't make a viral video. You make a video,and people make it go viral. The virality (yup I made that up) isn't guaranteed.

Honestly, it's hard for advertisers/brands to get things to go viral because people often see through the BS - unless you're distracted by the Old Spice Guy's rock hard abs.

That being said, here are 10 cool video ads from 2012. Be inspired!

Is Your Campaign Working?

This campaign totally tickles me. It's quick. It's smart. It's funny. But when the chuckles die down a slew of questions pop up.

What are they selling? Books? But you pretty much just gave me the cliff notes versions, so why should I read it now?

And now that I've seen these great ads, what do you want me to do? Just laugh? What's the call to action?

Is there a website? A location? Something? Anything?

Granted this is from Italy so maybe it's popular there and I'm just out of the know, but I'd still like to know who the brand is. When I tell my friends about these ads I should be able to say "Just saw this cool ad by (brand) for (product/service)."

Tip: Think about that when you're working on your stuff.

Is it explicit who you are advertising for?
Is the product/service evident?
Are the product/service benefits clear?
Do people know what to do next? (go to a store? go online? light themselves on fire?) definitely goes into this on a very detailed level but you should be asking yourself these questions.

Here's the campaign for Quercus Books, which according to my BFF Google, is a bookseller/publisher.

Using Pop Culture In Your Book

You know that saying - art imitates life. Or life imitates art? It's kinda like that for advertising.

Advertising influences pop culture and pop culture influences advertising.

For a minute there, everyone was says Whaaazzzzzup and Got (insert anything you think of)?

Advertising did that. 

And a lot of advertising is based some way on pop culture - Seen recently in Old Spice Saves The World before 2012 game

And Verizon Fios's Break Up With Cable meme campaign

And Deisel's Pre-Internet Shoe campaign

What's important to note here is how their entire campaign isn't based on the pop culture reference - the brand is still very relevant and there is usually strategic reason as to why they're using that device. Diesel's is the best example - they're relaunching a shoe from 20 years ago - before the Internet and Facebook.

Tip: An important thing to note though is that pop culture is constantly changing and what's popular this month/year will be old news soon. Imagine if you had a whole campaign around MySpace in your book. Aaaaawkward.

So while all these ideas are cool and topical, this might not be the case when you graduate or after your first year at work. Make sure you choose wisely.

The Lesson: When you're working on stuff for your book or work or whatever, make sure there's a reason you're using the pop culture reference and make sure it fits with the brand. Or any reference really - a historical character/event, a superhero, a celebrity, an elephant... Whatever it is, it needs to have a reason for being in the ad and with that brand.

You can't just use things for the sake of using them. That's called borrowed interest. It's gimmicky, lazy and sucks.

Don't suck.

Promote Yourself

Sadly, having a great portfolio doesn't necessarily guarantee you a job.

It may take some time, and some work, to get your foot in the door. There are hundreds of other creative wannabes out there. How are you going to stand out from the creative crowd?

How are you going to get your name out there? How are you going to show your skills, enthusiasm and overall awesomness to the world?

I've already shared a few examples of ways to promote yourself - Creative Job Hunting

and featured a few student projects that have given them notarity, like Go Art Director Go 

and TypeConnection 

And an entire a class at the Creative Circus did CCHS 2012 

I came across this fun piece on AgencySpy and thought it was another great example of ways you can get seen - and written about*

*Just make sure your book is as awesome as your idea. 

Get to work!

Photoshop Fails

Whether you're an art director or a copywriter, knowing how to use Adobe's Creative Suite is going to take you far in this business.

Copywriters, it helps to know your way around the programs. Just in case your partner is busy or absent or nonexistent and you need to get shit done asap. Even just being able to put things together to make a PDF is going to help you.

But art directors and designers - if you don't know how to use these programs - how to make layer comps, how to organise your files properly and how to design the shit out of ads - then you need to get to work. Immediately. 

It's your job to know the ins and outs of Photoshop and inDesign - and shoot if you can throw in some AfterEffects and/or 3D imaging you're golden.

When it comes to your portfolio - having the work in your book look polished, professional and print-ready - stuff you'd see in a magazine or online or wherever for real for real makes a big difference.

Check out these sites for Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop Tutorials
Adobe Tutorials
Planet Photoshop
Abduzeebo Tutorials (not free)

And promise me you won't commit any of these Photoshop Fails

Like this one from Business Insider 

Or these

Or overphotoshopping

Inspiration: Cure For Eyeball Boredom

A coworker introduced me to this site and I'd like to introduce it to all of you.

Visual News, meet the Creative Wannabes. Creative Wannabes, meet Visual News.

 This site is pretty much creative porn. Colours everywhere. Awesome design pieces. Murals. Art projects. Infographics. Photography.

It's tagline is "The Cure For Eyeball Boredom" and it needs to be on your list of Sites That Spark Creativity

Hope this gives you a jolt of inspiration and brightens up your Tuesday.

Here are a few of my favs so far: 

Lessons from iPhone

Remember when the first iPhone ad came out?

On a hunt for inspiration this weekend, I was looking for brands that have a distinct look, style or branding element that sets them apart from the rest. Something that when people see it, they'll know exact who the ad is by.

Apple is good at that. Always clean, simple, product focused and I'm pretty sure it's the same voiceover guy throughout. 

I came across this post with 89 iPhone ads from 2007 to 2012. Jackpot!

It was great to watch the evolution of the campaign - and the product. 

As a creative wannabe, this is a great campaign for you to learn from.

Look at how the product is always king.
How they make product demos look sexy.
Keep a keen eye on the things that stay consistent and the things that evolve.
How they can talk about different product features and still keep the same style and ad format.
The fact that they usually focus on feature per ad - one single message.
And especially note the branding - you almost always know it's an Apple ad.

Watch all the ads here
Apple's iPhone: The Complete Campaign

It Aint Easy Being Creative

People think advertising is easy until they actually have to do it.

It looks fun, but there is some science - and art - to it.

Recently, after going through several rounds of feedback and revisions -- about two minutes before I'd start pulling out my hair - I had the clients sit with me and said "Let's figure this out together."

I wanted get better feedback so I could properly solve their problems. And more importantly, I wanted them to see my frustrations.

Within the first ten minutes, they were both frustrated. One even said "It's like we're stuck in a box."

I wanted to hug her. WELCOME TO MY LIFE!

Eventually, we found a hole and were able to get out of that box and while it was only a small part of a big project, we all kind of wanted to throw confetti.

I can't always trap the client in a room until we figure something out, of course. Sometimes you just have to try and fail. Then try and fail. Then try and fail again.

But when you do get it (If you get it) it feels like bathing in champagne waterfall at the end of a double rainbow.

Here's a snippet from Art & Copy talking about how the teams came up with "Just Do It"

It wasn't easy. But they did it. And it was (still is) brilliant. 

Common Portfolio Review Mistakes

Love this post on Dear Brook (a blog for juniors written by a junior) that covers 5 common mistakes creative wannabes make at portfolio reviews.

I definitely have seen all of these in action and have actually stopped a review to give similar advice.

Are you guilty of any of these?

5 common mistakes Juniors should NOT make

Last week, I attended "Where are all the black people" event  and while there were some amazing panels about diversity and young creatives in advertising, I got to review tons of Juniors' portfolios and I met some amazing people in the process. For a while I was the person getting their portfolio reviewed (and still am actually) but for one day I got to see what it's like to be on the other side of the table. First of all, I applaud all the young creatives who were so enthusiastic and received constructive criticism so gracefully; I know it's hard, but you guys are on the right track I promise! One more push and you'll be enjoying nights and weekends at your new agency :D

During the event, I also got to see the common mistakes Juniors make while getting interviewed and presenting their work. A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about networking, which you can revisit. In case you don't know yet, networking is very important and apparently, it's an Art.
Now back to those common mistakes. They are common because A LOT of people make them, don't be one of them. Ask yourself honestly if you make any of the following 5 common mistakes:

1- Eye Contact
Man, that is the worst one for me. If you're sitting in front of someone who took the time off their busy day to come meet with you and help you in your career, the least you can do is PAY ATTENTION when they talk. I understand that a lot of young peeps are ADD, I'm ADD! But come on, show some respect and look at them in the eye. I can't stress it enough, it is such a turn off. This actually happened to me during the event, and for some reason I remember the guy with the wandering eyes very well. Now, that's not how you want people to remember you, do you? F-O-C-U-S

2- Overconfidence
Juniors who think they are the S#*t, yep they exist. A Junior by definition is someone who is starting, who is a beginner hence they don't know S#*t. Being confident is great, being overconfident is simply annoying. Here's the thing, when you're overconfident, you automatically think you know it all, and when you think you know it all you don't have an open mind, when you don't have an open mind, you don't learn anything and when you don't learn anything, you stay a Junior who doesn't know S#*t. Nice little picture I drew for you there huh? Be confident but stay humble.
ADDED BY @THEDAWE: Arrogance is a big one. If you're great, don't worry, you'll have plenty of opportunity to show it, not preach it. 

3- Lack of practice
When you go interviewing, you really have to practice your elevator pitch. You gotta know what to say, when to stop and listen and how to answer questions. I had people sit down and hand me their portfolios and wait for feedback. BOOORRRINNNG! I'm already not interested in your work. When you come to interview or show your folio, you have to be ready to speak, show your personality and walk them through your work. People are not going to understand the thinking behind your work unless you tell it. Think of it as storytelling. Go in there, talk about yourself, how you got to where you are, say an anecdote or two, tell them about your work and walk them through it. DON'T EXPLAIN YOUR WORK, just walk them through it. Then ask for feedback, take notes, exchange business cards, thank them for their time and ask if you can connect in LinkedIn later. Then follow up with a written card.
Practice is crucial Juniors, the more you practice, the more you feel confident and the more they'll like you. I talked to some international students–and while I understand that language can be an issue because english is not my first language so I'm on the same boat– It's really hard to communicate with someone you don't understand. So my advice to you guys is to speak loud enough to hear and really practice what you're going to say 100 times. We're in the business of communication and if you can't communicate properly, it will be an issue.

4- Portfolio format
I was SO surprised by the amount of people who brought an actual printed portfolio. I thought those things were long gone? I guess I was wrong. I think 80% of the people I met with had a printed portfolio. Some people will say that there's nothing wrong with a printed portfolio but I disagree. I think a digital portfolio is the way to go. Unless you have some amazing printed art or designs or letterpress or something like that, then go digital. It's cheaper, easier to manage and you don't have to carry it around! Speaking of digital, I was also surprised by the amount of juniors who had only print pieces in their books. Some of them are great ideas that can easily be expanded into digital pieces. My advice to all of you is: Think Campaigns. Show the way you think, explore new and untapped mediums, go all out. Don't do what agencies are doing now, do something different that no one has thought about yet. it's easier said than done, I know. But give it a try.

5- Lack of focus 
I understand that sometimes Juniors don't know what they want, they are not sure if they're creative or account or media etc. BUT! when you apply for a job and go for an interview, make sure you don't come off as "Mr know it all" or "Miss I have no clue what I want". I guarantee you won't get a job like that. There are many articles, books, blogs about advertising, it's not that hard to learn about the different departments. Before you go to an interview, make up your mind. Learn as much as you can about the position you're applying for and see if that's something you want to do, if the answer is no, then don't apply. It's a waste of your time and the agency's time. If you need help or advice, seek mentors, ask questions before you start intervewing, that's what I'm here for. On the other hand, don't act like you know it all (Read 2- Overconfidence above). One guys was like, yes I'm a creative, but i can do startegy and consider myself a producer... i was like, dude, pick one, you just listed 3 departments. Don't be that guy. If you can't choose, try to get an internship where they'll let you intern in different departments. You'll eventually find what you want to do.
Overall, I had a blast at the event and I met some really talented people. My last advice to you all is to be fierce. Go get them. Speak up, don't be shy. Go after what you want because if you sit there and wait, it'll never come to you.


Making Lemonade

As a creative, you don't always get what you want. (Kinda like life)

You come up with a kick-ass idea and your partner doesn't like it, or your boss changes it, or the account team kills it. And if it makes it to the client, you better hold your breath.

The thing is, sometimes the clients don't necessarily hate what you present. They may even love it. But then they start telling you all these things to change, add in or take out that in the end, strip your kick-ass idea of the kick.

There are several ways to deal with this.

Make two -- a version the way they want and one the way you like and show them both and see if seeing it in real life sways them. (It may not. So be prepared for that.)

Do a version for your book. Make it how you like it and though it may never be seen by the masses, at least you love it.

(Sometimes agencies do "agency versions" for TV spots that are different to the one that is actually produced and shown on air because they like that better.)

Create a tumblr with cool designs showing off the ridiculous feedback you've gotten. Like the folks at Heard Back From The Client

It's funnier when you look at it this way and makes it easier to accept and move on.

Just do it. Whether or not you agree with the feedback, you have to find creative ways to work with and/or around the requests to make something that works. After all, that's what you get paid to do.

Here are two of my favs from