Inspiration: Crazy Type

Love the use of type, colour and general sassiness in this campaign. Sometimes having inconsistent and crazy type just looks messy, but these are pretty cool.

Art directors and copywriters should enjoy.

Top 40 Places to Intern

Internships make a big difference. There are certain things you won't learn in a text book, in a campaigns class or at a portfolio school.

There's a whole other reality to the ad world. It's not all shoots and champagne like I said that one time I told you not to get a job in advertising. 
There are account people constantly scheduling meetings that eat up all your concepting time. There are budgets and lawyers that keep you from doing awesome and amazing things. You'll have multiple, often overlapping deadlines. Project managers running you down. A bunch of people who didn't read this post. Fifty rounds of client changes. Constant rejection. Incessant time sheet reminder emails (or physical enforcers). People throwing you under buses. Weekend work. For little to no money.

Of course, there's also lots of good stuff. But I wanted to scare you a little first. (I love deeply, but I also love tough.)

Knowing how things are in the "real world" and getting day-to-day exposure of the job you want to be in, at a place you want to work at, is going to help you exponentially.

You'll make great contacts. (Who you better connect with on LinkedIn in the right way)

You'll learn how things work in an agency. (And stop saying you are looking for a job as an entry level creative director

You'll get a taste of what your world is going to be like post school. (Kinda like This Advertising Life, but not as funny.)

And even if you don't get an internship in the creative department, there's so much you can learn about the process. Plus, your foot will be in the door and you can meet creatives and make connections.

I did three internships when I was in college.

One in the marketing department of small computer sales company that sold computer parts and products. (Think Dunder Mifflin for geeks). I did a little bit of everything and eventually got used to the 9 to 6 routine.

Another, was in account services at BBDO NY. Hated it overall but developed a long-lasting respect for account people. And met some cool creatives who helped me decide to go to portfolio school. Oh! And I got to go on shoots!

And the last one was through MAIP, at then Foote Cone & Belding Chicago (now DraftFCB), in the creative department. I didn't have the best experience but I did a lot of work, learned a lot and make some good friends in the process. Also, you can't beat the MAIP network - lots of people who know people you want to know.

What was this post about again?

The Top 40 Places to Intern

Check out Internship King. The top 40 agencies to work at are featured with intern reviews (my how the tables have turned). But you can also search by name, city or state to find other agencies - and see some of the ones that made the Worst list. tsk tsk.

Say your piece if you're agency is listed. How are they treating you? How is the experience going? Are you learning? Getting responsibilities? Feeling like part of the team?

And take notes if you're looking for internships next year. Make a list of the places you want to work at and start trying to find contacts there and doing everything you need to get in there.

Internship King also has a section on money. You can also find out which are unpaid, which are paid and how much. (Remember, some agencies also let you do internships for school credit, so don't rule out that option.)

 Agencies often hire from their intern pool so that's always a great step in the door.

Get to work!

How to get ignored on LinkedIn

How do I put this in the least conceited way possible? Hmm... Okay. Here goes. Just hear me through until the end.

I have 34 unrequited invites to connect on LinkedIn.

That's 34 people who saw my name, clicked the big yellow connect button, and then (here's where they fell off) just hit the blue send invitation button, leaving the generic, boring and impersonal "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" message to pop up in my inbox.

Here's the thing.

This is LinkedIn, not Twitter or Pinterest. This is my professional network. This is my career we're talking about here.

I don't just go around connecting with every Tom, Dick and Harry that lights up my inbox.

I'm not that kinda girl.

And most people aren't.

LinkedIn expressly says "Important: Only invite people you know well and who know you." Right before the invite button. (reading is fundamental)

If you're going to reach out to someone on LinkedIn - unless they're a coworker, close friend or family member - ALWAYS INCLUDE A MESSAGE.

- Remind the person where they met you.
- Tell them why you want to connect with them.
- Say a little something about yourself.
- If you have a shared connection, name drop.

Give them a reason to connect with you.

Sometimes I reply to these strangers and say "Ummm do I know you??" (actually I'm much nicer. I usually say: "Remind me, have we met?")

Sometimes they follow up and tell me that we have, or that they read my blog, or that they're a recruiter (who I think should know better) or they don't know me but "thought I looked interesting."

Yes. I am interesting. But you can enjoy that from afar.

LinkedIn is my sacred space to build and share my professional brand and create and foster relationships in my industry. This is where serious, buttoned up, career-conscious Neisha lives.

If you want to see interesting people, go to Poorly Dressed.

If you want to forward your career, be proactive and personable. And always, always follow the rules and basic etiquette of LinkedIn and stop sending blind invitations.

Tell your friends to tell their friends. Let's work together to end blind invitations on Linkedin. (I feel like I should organise a march or a rally or something to get the word out. No? Too much? Ok, fine.)

Oh, and here's some stuff I've said before that may or may not matter 
 Most people probably don't remember you
 Develop a split personality: have a work self and a home self 
 Follow Up Email Template
How to do more on LinkedIn

Article: 8 Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive

By Photos by Zeb

If your mom/brother/significant other/boss asks what you're doing - just tell them you're trying to be more productive.



Eight Ways Goofing Off Can Make You More Productive

From Forbes

One of my colleagues used to head to the men’s room and brush his teeth every time he felt a surge of writer’s block. He swears it did the trick. Another exits the building and walks around the block to clear his head. I like to take advantage of the mid-day yoga sessions that Forbes offers in the gym on the ninth floor. When I return to my desk, my body is relaxed, my mind is clear, and I attack my work with new energy.

A growing body of research suggests that the longer you keep your rear end in your chair and your eyes glued to your screen, the less productive your may be. Getting up from your desk and moving not only heightens your powers of concentration, it enhances your health.

story in Sunday’s New York Times quoted two sources who have studied productivity. John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management describes how concentrating on one task is like using one muscle for an extended period. The mind needs a break, to rest and recover before it can exert again. Among other things, Trougakos recommends that workers take serious lunch breaks, to recharge with food and a change of scene.

Levine suggests that you work in concentrated 15-minute periods, divided up by breaks. “The thought process is not designed to be continuous,” he tells the Times. He points out that efficient, productive work is much more valuable than long hours of wasted or partially productive time.

Then there is the power of daydreaming, described in science writer Jonah Lehrer’s new book, Imagine. Many of our most creative, productive thoughts come not while we’re trying to force them during long sessions at our desks, but at odd moments outside the office. For instance, Lehrer describes how Dan Wieden of advertising giant Wieden+Kennedy found the inspiration for the famous Nike “Just Do It” tag line late one evening, after reflecting on a conversation he had had with a colleague about the novelist Norman Mailer, who had written a book about convicted murderer Gary Gilmore. Gilmore’s last line before he was executed, “Let’s do it,” popped into Wieden’s head. Back at his desk, Wieden tweaked the phrase. But the idea had come in his off hours.

Many of us feel we shouldn’t waste time chatting with co-workers during the work day. But my colleague Andy Greenburg has written about research showing that talking with colleagues can increase your productivity. Specifically, a team of MIT researchers led by Professor Alexander “Sandy” Pentland discovered that call center workers who took the time to converse with their co-workers, instead of just grinding away, got through calls faster, felt less tension and earned the same approval ratings as their peers who didn’t schmooze at the office.

Finally, there is the increasing evidence for the importance of physically moving around during the day, and how it enhances productivity. My colleague Alison Griswold just wrote about Jack Groppel, a co-founder of a division of Johnson & Johnson called the Human Performance Institute. Groppel, who holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Florida State University, insists that stretching and walking around once every 30 minutes throughout the day stimulates blood flow and leads to a burst of hyper oxygenation in the brain, increasing energy and attentiveness.

After canvassing my colleagues, I offer this list of productive ways to goof off during the day and evening. They will your productivity and sense of well being. But beware not to overdo any of them. Take too many breaks and you may enter the realm of procrastination.

1. Take a walk around the block.
Fresh air combined with a change of scene can boost productivity.

2. Take a nap.
Some offices offer this as a perk. Closing your eyes for a 15-minute catnap can be hugely refreshing.

3. Chat with a colleague.
Even if you only make small talk, a fresh perspective on your day can help you get a new perspective on the task at hand.

4. Run an errand
Like walking around the block, getting out of the office and taking care of business can give your mind a break and the exercise will get your blood flowing.

5. Brush your teeth.
The symbolism of removing decay and plaque can be especially potent when you are feeling sluggish.

6. Spend ten minutes checking Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.
This is not as good for you as leaving your desk, but the mental distraction can offer a helpful break. Monitor your time however and don’t let yourself be distracted for more than five minutes.

7. Go to the gym
If your company has an exercise facility, take advantage.

8. Go out to lunch
Judging from the habits of my colleagues, lunch out of the office is a dying American habit. But a healthy meal and good conversation can be nourishing on multiple levels.

Embrace your Fear

Whenever I get a new project I have a mini anxiety attack (I may be exaggerating. A little)

I start wondering - what if I suck? What if I can't do this? What if they hate my ideas? What if I don't come up with anything good? What if what if what if

A friend told me recently that not only is that normal, but it's also good.

Question yourself.
Doubt yourself.
Be afraid.

Let your fear and insecurity motivate you. Let that anxiety make you work harder, try different things, dig deeper and push further.

The minute you start thinking I have this figured out. This is easy. And I can do this an hour before the presentation, kill yourself.

That's when you stop trying to be great. That's when you stop giving your all. That's why you become boring, average and lazy. That's when people will call you a hack. (*shudder*)

Average is a handicap. Laziness is a disease.
Let them win and your creativity starts to slowly shrivel and die.

Dylan Thomas said to rage against the dying of the light.

Fight it.
Conquer it.
Lock it up in a dungeon inside a volcano. 

Complacency is your enemy.

Constantly push yourself to be better than you were last time. To do more than you did last time. To be your best self.

That's how you're always going to show up with solid ideas. That's how you're always going to be called to work on bigger and better things.

That, my friends, is how you're going to win

Creative Questions Answered

Yesterday I met (I use the term loosely) about 40 interns in the MAIP program.

The event "Where are they now?" And featured 5 MAIP alums who have done amazing things since their internships.

They gave great advice like maintaining connections, working harder than the hardest working person around you and how important having personal/side projects to supplement your job search -- and inspire you of course.
Then there was speed networking, which was, well, fast. Groups of 7-10 interns sat with 4 or 5 MAIP alums/ current industry professions to ask for tips, advice and direction.

There were a lot of questions asked that we in the creative group didn't get the chance to answer, based on time and the sheer volume of people.

So for all of you that I mentioned my blog to (yep, I'm not above shameless promotion) -  I decided to gather all the info here for you (if this isn't love, I don't know what is)


How do I switch from account/planning/media into creative?
Getting what you want out of your internship
Start small, think big - alternate routes to the creative department
Lateral movers: how to switch in 
Using your past experience 
Switching from pharma to general 
See the next two answers. But I'll write a special post about this too.

What do I need to know/do to be a creative?
Watch this movie immediately: Art & Copy
You won't start off a creative director

50 things every creative should know

Learn about the different departments and how they work together
Read this: Breaking In
Watch this short video: The Pursuit of Passion
5 Tips for Creative Wannabes
10 tips for young copywriters 
10 tips for young art directors
10 tips for young creatives
Making it: Thick Skin required
Going from freelance to full time

What is a portfolio? How do I make one?
Basics of your portfolio 
Portfolio broken down 
Read this: How to put your book together
What not to put in your book
Don't benetton your book
Things that make you look like an amateur
Avoid big name brands with already awesome ads
More tips on putting your book together
What people look for in a book 
What the bigwigs think of your book
What your portfolio says about you
Is your idea big enough 
Respect the brand

Should I go to portfolio school or make my book on my own?
Pros & Cons
My bias toward portfolio schools 
What to expect in portfolio school 
How to apply to portfolio school
Interview with non-portfolio school creatives
Interview with portfolio school creatives
What you won't learn in portfolio school

Should I know how to do many things or pick a specialty?
What do you know? 
What's so special about you?
(more coming on this soon.)

How does the creative process work?
The cycle of rejection 
Dealing with death
(more on this coming soon. It's not all bad, I promise)

Where do you find inspiration?
29 Ways to stay creative
Inspiration Hunting
Sites that spark creativity
More awesome websites 
20 ways to stay creative 
10 quick creative hacks

What do you do when you get an assignment and you just don't know where to start/ don't get it?
Hunt inspiration (see above) 
Always ask what if
Step away from the computer
10 ways to make smarter ads
Don't be afraid to fail 
Fail big

Dos + Don'ts + Tips
Creative Wannabe Work Commandments
29 things young creatives should know 
Be an asset 
Always overdeliver
Don't be an asshole 
How to make small talk 
Be on time
Don't be annoying

Always ask questions
Speak positively/ Believe in yourself
Email writing tips
Three things to must be/do 
12 things successful people do differently
Networking & following up tips to help people remember you

Seriously, you have to make people remember you 
Tips on keeping in touch

Things recruiters love and hate
Advice from a creative recruiter
Why Should Someone Hire You?
How to get your first job

And lastly. Get to work.

Remind me if I forgot anything or need to write something new.
If you don't remember anything else I say - remember this: Be amazing!

You can't concept on a computer

You just got a big project or brief. Now what?

Close Word. Close Illustrator. Close Photoshop. Those are tools for executing.

Right now it's time to think.

All you need is your imagination, paper and a pen (or in my case, a pencil.)

You need to get off the computer to think. And probably away from your desk, too.

Creatives should always have a notebook with them. Always. You never know when and where inspiration is going to strike.

You can go online to research and look at ads, art and such to spark your creativity, but whatever you think needs to be scribbled into your notebook.

I recently read a great article about how physically writing things helps you be a better writer -- and remember better, too.

I totally agree. Working with pencil and paper gives me a freedom I could never get within the four walls of a computer screen.

Suddenly I can write sentences and phrases without Word pointing out my spelling and grammar mistakes. Suddenly I can doodle and sketch. Write the product's name really really big. And the right next to it write it really really small. I can twist and turn. Erase and underline. Circle and scratch out.

Suddenly there's no limit to what I have to create and the way I must create it. I'm free to just throw my thoughts on the page in whatever random rhythm they leave my mind. Something that may have been a mistake 5 minutes ago is now the start of a new strategy. A misspelling pushes me to probe the convention of language, anguish, anger, danger, stranger, fiction, friction, fragments.

Things don't need to make sense on the page. I can come back later and sift and sort and gently pluck the ideas and inklings of ideas off the paper and take them elsewhere to germinate and turn into something great.

There's this weird joy whenever I turn to a new page in my notebook.

It's when I feel the most free to truly create.

Use Advertising For Good

Advertising at its best is selfish, manipulative and full of propaganda -- in one word: Evil.

However, at its best, Advertising inspires, motivates and informative.

I'd prefer doing more of the latter, of course, but often end up doing mostly the former. (There was a sad, sad time I worked on tobacco and felt my soul slowly deflate and crumple up on the floor.)

So, I blog, teach and mentor to appease my conscience and ensure at least a parking spot close to the doors of Heaven.

Whenever I see ads that move me - not to buy something - but to change the way I see something, or better yet, change the world - I'm always super excited.

This is the power we hold as creatives.

 We can convince people to buy things and, with the same flick of our wrists, we can convince people to do better, be better, to think differently.

Start thinking now about how can you use advertising to do something good. Try to include a PSA/Non-profit/social cause in your book*.

The angels will thank you.

Here's an example of an interesting looking and inspiring work for City Year.

City Year: Give a year. Change the world. 
via KissMyBlackAds

(*but only one. You don't want to come off as a sap.)

Ten Ways To Make Smarter Ads

First quarter of portfolio school (at the Creative Circus) felt more like Finger Painting 101 than Intro to Creative Thinking. I didn’t appreciate it much then but I actually use some of the techniques I learned back then sometimes – like mind maps and word association.

I was cleaning recently and found my old “journal” (for lack of a better word) that I kept that quarter with ideas, collages, font explorations, ad ideas, drawings, poetry, quotes, short stories and all manners of randomness. Some of it made me laugh, some of it made me think, some of it actually inspired me.

Like this gem (that I painstakingly retyped to share with you. I deserve a cookie.)

Ten Ways To Make Smarter Ads

1.     Ask yourself: “What’s the benefit?” Write it down. Memorize it. Live with it for a while. Mull it over while you do other stuff. You can’t make the ad unless you know what the benefit is. If you can’t say it clearly, you can’t restate it in a unique way. And that’s what good ads do – they say the benefit in a unique way.
2.     If you’re a writer, think visually. If you’re an art director, write headlines. Neither side of the equation is proprietary.
3.     Go watch somebody buy it. You don’t have to go up and ask them anything. Just look at who they are, how they look. Figure out what kind of kid they were in high school. One key to a good ad is to approach the proposition form the customer’s point of view.
4.    Headline: “Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, dumb shit.” Every human being that ever lived engages in a running dialogue with him or herself. Within the context of that dialogue, the tone is candid and forthright – and virtually universal. They don’t pull their punches. Since they (we) are familiar with it, you (we) should use it where appropriate.
5.    If you borrowed any interest, march right over and return it. Borrowed interest is a crutch we’re all tempted to use. It takes something vaguely related to the subject and tries to center the ad up over there. Like building an ad about remembering your new area code by having an elephant dial the phone. Borrowed interest is a creative cop out. It says “We couldn’t find any interesting way to couch the proposition, so we gave up.”
6.    More ideas, dammit. Too many young creatives mistake thinking real hard for thinking real well. It’s not about sitting there, grunting and straining. If you do that, you’ll just pull a mental muscle. It’s more about having a lot of ideas. How does the proposition look from over here? What about up there? How would a comedian say it? How would it look upside down? Take the benefit statement and say it/ show it as many different ways as possible.
7.    If you can’t split it with a meat cleaver, skewer it with whimsy. We tend to see or accept one tone as appropriate for whatever the subject of the ad might be. (For example: Beer is about belly laughs for guys.) Sometimes (and it’s painfully obvious in retrospect) another tonal approach might not only be appropriate. It might also open up whole new areas for you to explore.
8.    Never smother your partner’s baby. Creating ads in teams isn’t about “my idea” vs “your idea.” It isn’t about voting on concepts one at a time as they happen. It’s about fostering a mutual respect – a generosity of spirit that lets you volley and serve and work in tandem.
9.    The middle of the night is nice. Make yourself get up out of bed and start thinking about the proposition. Sit somewhere deathly quiet and stare at a blank piece of paper. When you’re tempted to get up and walk around, don’t. Sit there and stare at that paper until something happens or you crawl back to bed a failure in total self-revulsion. And if the great idea doesn’t come, don’t worry. It’ll probably happen in that state right before you wake up.
10. Work on it subconsciously. There’s a little trick to teach yourself. You can work on the proposition when you’re not working on the proposition. You can shove it down into a deeper part of your brain and roll it around while you’re sleeping or doing other things. It really works. I’ve dreamed One Show Ads that way.

- Author unknown (well, to me at least.)

Friday Treat: Little Bits of Happiness

This ad right here... moved me. Whether it's fake or not doesn't matter. Whether coke makes your teeth rot or sends you on a road to obesity, I still love this video.

Here's a great example of going above and beyond the typical :30 TV spot or print ad or mobile app. It's just a simple and engaging video that gets people talking (I shared with about 47 people) and gives you a feel-good association to Coca-Cola.

Note how it ties back to the brand's tagline - Open happiness.

 Enjoy Little Bits of Happiness
 from Creativity Online

Say what you will about sugary soda, Coca-Cola definitely knows how to inject happiness into your day. This latest work, out of Coke Latin America and producer Landia, looks at the world a little bit differently, by stitching together security camera footage that has captured little acts of love, kindness, silliness and happiness.
The footage is set to the upbeat 'Give A Little Bit,' by Supertramp.
"People tend to associate security cameras with negative events, but we wanted to disprove that assumption by demonstrating the abundance of happy events and actions they capture," said Martin Mercado, CD at Landia.

Inspiration: 40 Awesome Billboards

Billboards are especially tough when it comes to creative dexterity. You have to think about the fact that people may be driving by and you don't want to kill them and that you don't have space for body copy so your headlines need to be on point.

Here are 40 Absolutely Brilliant Billboard Ads for some inspiration.

Should I send this email

Work emails make me want to claw my eyes out. (Sometimes. Okay Okay. Most times.) Also meeting requests - well the meetings themselves actually. (It's hard to do work when you're too busy talking about doing work.) But they're a necessary evil. (And quite honestly I prefer emails to people actually coming by my desk and getting me out of my headphone-focus.) 

I've written before giving advice on sending emails  
Dos & Donts
The Art of Emailing
Follow Up Email Template

And then I came across this awesome flow chart that helps you better discern whether or not to hit send.

Study it. There's going to be a test later.

Article: Think Smarter, Not Harder

Timing is everything folks. I was sent this article a bit ago and finally got around to read it and it's like God, Buddha, Allah, the elephant Hindu god and Oprah knew I needed to read this today.

I hope it inspires, reassures and pushes you forward, too.

Unlock Your Sixth Sense: Think Smarter, Not Harder
From DesignTaxi

Dr Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychoanalysis, described intuition as the ability to anticipate change and to see possibilities inherent in a situation. It is also the magic ingredient in new ideas and inventions.

Intuition and creativity are part of our biological make-up going back thousands of years. Archeologists have uncovered findings that prove our caveman ancestors possessed these abilities to “know something spontaneously, without the conscious use of reasoning”. The evidence shows that although they did not possess language skills and were primarily concerned with survival, primitive humans intuitively used ritual to connect with the mysterious realm of spirit.

In case you are wondering, everyone has a sixth sense. It is important to your creativity. The good news is that it works whether you believe it or not! It is a natural mental ability that you can strengthen with practice, much the same way that you can become fluent in a new language, play a musical instrument, or become a better golfer.

If you need to be able to think quickly in a variety of situations, overcome creative blocks and find innovative solutions, here are some tips for learning how to listen to your inner voice:
  1. Go with the flow. Pay attention to ideas, insights, and impressions that seem to come out of nowhere. They are not “just imagination”. They are information that your brain is elaborating. Data can take many forms. Your brain is capable of receiving information in the form of feelings, sensations, taste, sight, smell, and sound. It synthesizes the data into a quick impression, often called a gut feeling or hunch. Too often we avoid listening to this inner source of information because we believe it is more efficient to be rational.

    Respect those hunches. For example, your brain may say that it is time to return an important phone call or time to get off the phone. Or you may have a feeling of urgency about delivering a message in person instead of sending a text. Successful people from all walks of life report that paying attention and respecting their hunches dramatically improves their sense of timing and consequently, success in their life.

  2. Follow that gut feeling. When a gut feeling or hunch presents itself, the most important step is to act on it as soon as possible. Write your gut feeling someplace immediately so that you can refer back to it later. Then make a choice: Act on it or ignore it. Observe the result and keep a record so that you can build your personal intuitive database for future reference.

  3. Take time out to solve a problem. In order to make maximum use of your brain’s ability to solve problems intuitively, take a break. Do not try to solve it using logic. Do something else. Take a walk. Listen to music. Shower. Relax. This opens up access to the intuitive part of the brain that synthesizes information effortlessly. Allow your intuitive mind to work for your solutions. Later on, you will notice that you are thinking with clear vision. Do not be surprised as your intuition pops up more frequently from now on.

  4. Ask your sixth sense for help. This one of the most important rules. It may seem strange but it is possible to speak to the part of your brain that knows how to receive and synthesize information at high speed. The easiest way to do this is to take a few moments to breathe deeply with eyes closed. When feeling relaxed, all that is needed is to ask the intuitive part of the brain which is within you for help when solving the problem. Strange but true: your brain will execute any command you input.

    Look for the big picture. Instead of getting buried in details, take a deep breath, and shift your focus to a different task. At the same time, ask your intuitive mind to show you the big picture. For example, if you are working on an Excel spreadsheet and something does not look right, ask your intuitive mind to show you what is missing. You will be amazed when the missing piece of information pops into your mind all of a sudden, effortlessly. Just ask. Your intuitive voice speaks gently. Do not forget to listen to the subtle answers and write them down.

  5. Acknowledge your intuitive mind. As you get more comfortable using these techniques every day, it will get easier to think faster when you under pressure. One way to wire in this new skill level is to thank your intuitive mind for helping you to solve a problem. It is probably easier for you to criticize yourself when you make a mistake. Instead take a moment to say to yourself, “Good work!” or “Not bad!” or “Thanks!” Your brain will learn that this effort to find a solution is well appreciated and this “thanking” will enhance your ability to come up with an answer more quickly next time. Noticing when your hunch or gut feeling is right on course will build your confidence.

  6. Trust yourself. One of the Fathers of Reason, the French mathematician Blaise Pascal said, “There are two excesses: to exclude reason, and to admit only reason.” As you learn to see, hear, and feel your sixth sense, not only will you think fast on your feet, you will become a master of your mind. Success is inevitable.

Is Advertising For You?

Are you absolutely, positively sure advertising is for you?

I love Toronto Portfolio Night's site that gives you a short quiz where you can see if you've got what it takes to be in advertising.

I try to tell y'all it's not all roses and champagne, it's a lot of hard work, late nights, failure and frustration. (See  Don't get a job in advertising, watch out for that bus,  The circle of rejection, dealing with death, I hate my partner, hard work doesn't always pay off and there's no crying in advertising.)

Don't get me wrong, I love advertising. (But I also love raw almonds, Bikram Yoga and, so I may not be the best lever to judge Love vs Hate.) But it is a lot of work and at times can make you want to jump into the Hudson (or pick your nearly scary gross river.)

Check out Absolutely Positively Sure and see whether you're better suited for a career elsewhere.

Here are some sample questions:

How To Write A Newspaper Ad

Copywriters need to know how to write. Art directors need to know how to design. Trust me on this one, I didn't make it up.

One of the things I hear from a lot of recruiters and older creatives is that students and juniors don't know the craft. Writers don't know how to write. (Or spell.) Art directors don't know how to lay type, using any program but Photoshop, etc)

It's one thing to know how to concept, but you also need to know how to execute. (And sometimes your job is more about the executing than concepting)

What am I writing about again? Oh! Yes! How to write a newspaper ad.
The Newspaper Association of America (Yes, this exists. And yes, people still read the paper. Surprising, I know!) had a few big names in the ad world write ads about making ads. (How meta) 

(side note: if you don't know who these people are, google them immediately.) 

Tips on putting your portfolio together

Shock and awe. That's how I feel sometimes when I look at people's books.

It's clear when you get it. It's clear when you're talented. And you know how someone can tell? By looking at your book.

The three things you need in this industry is a good portfolio, a good personality and good connections. 

I've written about it before *ahem*

What exactly do you mean by "portfolio"? 

What your portfolio says about you
Beef up your book
What not to put in your book aka Don't Columbus other people's work
Don't Benetton Your Book
Your book will never be finished
but here is even more great advice for copywriters, art directors and developers on what to put in their book.

What Not To Put In Your Book 
From Big Orange Slide

I spend an embarrassing amount of time reviewing portfolios. Over time I’ve drawn this conclusion: for every one good book there are at least ten bad ones.  And of those bad ones, at least five are flat out horrifying.
The ones that really break my heart are the near-misses. The portfolios that show some great thinking, but are ruined by (for lack of a better term) a “deal breaker.”
A deal breaker can be anything from a misaligned font to a misspelled headline. Herewith, a list of some of the things portfolio reviewers here at Grip look for. Or judge harshly.

For Copywriters – by Leilah Ambrose

Yes, your ideas are super important. Trouble is, hidden deep in the word “copywriter” is the word “writer.” If you can’t spell check or proof your own headlines, body copy or overviews, you’re not exactly demonstrating dedication to the art.  It’s like Yul Brynner in the “Magnificent Seven” showing up to a gunfight with no bullets.
Or something.

Show elasticity:
Sure, you can prove that you have great ideas and writing chops in a series of print ad. But it helps to show off your process and creative versatility. Put your ideas into unconventional media. Find interactive elements. Talk to where you draw inspiration from. Link to blogs that you have. Celebrate your creativity and insight alongside your headlines.

Assess your WTF quotient:
Honestly, if it takes 15 minutes to explain your idea, even after showing your executions, it probably shouldn’t be in your portfolio.

Don’t Tolstoy your work:
Having breadth of thinking is good. Having breadth of thinking that rivals the length of War and Peace is not. Pick a handful of your best ideas, and the best executions of those ideas. 50 “meh” ideas don’t trump 5 great ones.

For Art Directors – by Colin Craig

Have a portfolio website:
It’s a given that every aspiring designer or art director must have a portfolio site. Even a few years ago, this could be a daunting project for the coding impaired. Now, with options like Cargo Collective and the Behance Network, it’s become far simpler to launch and maintain a professional-looking portfolio site. Use large, high-quality images. If you’re going to shoot your print work, make sure it’s crisp and well lit. Be clear about your role on each project.

Keep it professional:
Leave the Holga travel photos out. Same goes for art school paintings and neighborhood café installations. You should keep your portfolio tightly focused on art direction and design. Personal projects within this space are a different story though – they show a passion for the field, strong motivation and drive, and are a great way to explore media you haven’t had a chance to work on professionally.

Be a chameleon:
Artists and illustrators have personal, signature styles. Designers and art directors shouldn’t. Portfolios should demonstrate an ability to follow (and stretch!) brand standards, and execute in a wide variety of looks and styles.
And I’ll second Leilah’s “Keep it tight” and “No spelling typos.” Five or six projects are more than enough if that’s the scope of your best work. Spelling errors make me question an art director’s attention to detail and work habits.

For Developers – by Doug Riches:

Provide rationale:
It’s necessary to have code examples and descriptions of the project and, when possible, the final result. But the most important aspect to all of this is the rationale. Explain why you chose the examples you did. Too often, developer portfolios read like a hum-drum list of projects. Don’t be ordinary. What I need to see is examples of the code you worked on, why it’s best practice, and why it represents your best work.

Give context to your technologies:
Almost every developer portfolio lists out the same technologies. The problem is everyone lists the same thing without context. I want to see explanations and examples of the types of code you profess to know. Avoid itemizing every technology in the world with no context of examples of how you would use them.

Define your contribution:
Don’t include your CMS-driven site without defining your role on the team, and how you were instrumental in making it awesome. This especially goes for front-end developers. When I see a cacophony of horrible CMS-generated front-end code without any context – well, it doesn’t show me that you get proper web standards.

Overall – by Jacoub Bondre

Show attention to detail:
Think Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place.” Misaligned fonts, typos, shifts in content and navigation have the ability to almost immediately disqualify you from an opportunity.  Screwing up on the hard things is fixable and understandable.  You can be trained to use 3D in flash.  Typographic flair will come with experience.  However, being lazy about your details could be construed as a character flaw. And that’s something that can’t be taught.

Be honest:
I encourage all of our interns and freelancers to put any work they do here at Grip in their portfolio.  Even if their contribution was minor, all hands that touch a project mold and affect it.  That being said, you need to be honest about your contributions to a project.  People will find out quickly if you exaggerated your involvement. And that ain’t gonna look good.

Show me the money:
Only show your BEST work, bearing in mind that your best may not be something you did for a big, recognizable brand. If you did a project for Nike that sucks, and a project for Bob’s Tackle Shop that’s amazing, show the Bob’s Tackle work.  I will also echo Leilah’s “Keep it tight” comment.  I will lose interest after a max of eight pieces.  The words “more work available upon request” can be magic.

To sum up: your portfolio is your first impression. It’s a representation of what you’ve done, and how you work. If you’ve followed the above guidelines, the only thing standing between you and a job is whether or not you’re a jerk.

Creatives You Should Know: Jesse Juriga

Am I a groupie if I say "I know him!"? Because I kinda know him. And he's kind of a big deal.
I'm so excited to see Jesse's success post-Creative Circus.
I hope you are as inspired by him as I am.

Creatives You Should Know: Jesse Juriga
from Creativity

BBH New York Creative Director Tells Some of the Brand World's Best Stories

By: Ann-Christine Diaz, Published: Apr 30, 2012

You might call BBH N.Y. Creative Director Jesse Juriga a bit of a scammer. He landed his first job in advertising at Droga5 after telling a little fib while he was a student at Creative Circus to Droga5 Exec Creative Director Ted Royer. "He did the 'come-by-the agency-if-you-are-ever-in town' thing," he says. "I lied and said I was going to be in New York a few days later. I used the last of my student loans to book a flight to NYC to meet with him. Luckily for me, one of the art directors was on vacation and Ted asked me to help out."
Then, Juriga showed his masochistic colors. "It was my birthday, and I worked all day until 2 a.m.," he says. "They hired me a month later."

He went on to work on much of the agency's memorable work for Puma, including the Cannes Film Craft Grand Prix-winning "After Hours Athlete" which introduced Puma's new kind of competitor--the night owl. "I had the privilege of working with [fellow Droga5 creatives] Amanda Clelland, Tim Gordon and Kevin Brady on that project," he says. "We were very sensitive to making sure it felt like something the viewer already knew and had experienced sometime in life--in order to remove the cynicism that usually comes with nightlife work. The stars aligned and [director] Ringan Ledwidge worked his magic."

Last year, Juriga joined BBH New York, where he's helped to make Google one of the brand world's best storytellers with the waterworks-inducing campaign "The Web is What You Make of It," featuring spots such as "Dear Sophie," based on a real Google employee's personal project for his daughter, and the uplifting "It Gets Better," showcasing journalist Dan Savage's eponymous project to send messages of hope to LGBT teens.

"Real people are doing amazing things with the open web every day," Juriga says. "The challenge is to share their stories in real, authentic ways that express what it means to be alive in 2012." As for which is his favorite, "I have a soft spot for 'Sophie,' but I still claim somebody is chopping onions behind me every time I watch 'It Gets Better,'" he says. "When 'It Gets Better' aired on TV for the first time the entire team watched it together," he recalls. "I don't think I took a breath for 90 seconds. To be able to translate such a basic human idea into a feeling, I was more proud than I had ever been. People were chopping onions all over the place."

Today, Juriga continues his work on Google Chrome--and remains inspired by the people around him.

"When I am with people I love and respect, I'm going to do my best because they want me to succeed and I want them to succeed," he says. "It's the best cycle to be trapped in. I'm lucky enough to have had that at Droga5, and to have it again with my awesome team at BBH."

Jesse Juriga-More to Know:

On collaborating with Google Creative Lab:
Collaboration is the perfect word. They are by no means a client, but a true partner. There are no "Don Draper" presentations where we unveil ideas. It's a conversation that turns into work. We have each other on speed dial. . .or speed-gchat.

Biggest Inspirations:
A kid from India found his mother after being separated from her after 15 years or something by using Google Maps! There's a guy out there PRINTING human tissue! I can see my nieces and nephews every day by clicking a button on a phone! Ryan Gosling is real! Humans are awesome. I think it's pretty great to be alive right now.

What He Does for Fun, Outside of the Job:
I wish I could say I design furniture or play in a band in some Bushwick basement, but that just isn't true. I'm a social beast. My favorite place in the world is anywhere my friends are. So I do that. I hang out with my amazing boyfriend. I talk about reality television. I drink coffee and walk around the neighborhood. I listen to music too loud for my own good.

What keeps him creatively recharged:

If He Weren't in Advertising:
I'd still be telling stories, probably as a history teacher--which I'm pretty sure I will do eventually.

Little Known Fact:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on two occasions, has confused me for his kids' babysitter.

Check out the full list of Creativity's 2012 Creatives You Should Know.

Are you a CW or AD?

Love this Facebook page that shows some of the differences between Copy Writers and Art Directors.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, you kinda have to pick a side. So where do you stand?

Copywriters vs Art Directors