Product Design
  • Interview Excerpt: Ant Keogh, Executive Creative Director, Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne

    Check out some great work from Ant Keogh.

    What do you look for in a student portfolio? And what impresses you?

    I suppose it’s looking at things in a different way. Solving a problem with a different angle than most people would come up with and yet one that’s still somewhat practical. An imaginative approach is what you’re initially looking for, although if you get completely crazy ideas without any sense of practicality then that’s too easy. Because advertising is that mix of lateral and logical thinking. Worse though is if it’s too buttoned down, because it’s easier to teach that than to teach raw creative instinct. You want to turn each page and say, “Great idea, great idea, great idea.” And it doesn’t matter if they are pencil drawings or the most simple version of an idea, if that idea shines through. But you just want to see a succession of them so you get a sense for their “strike rate” in problem solving.

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Next Up: Ant Keogh

    Ant Keogh is Executive Creative Director at Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne, as well as an artist, director, and musician.

    Carlton – “The Big Ad”

    Carlton – “Beer Chase”

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Two New Books!

    First, we are excited to announce our second book:

    BREAKING IN: Product Design

    Author Amina Horozic spent the past two years interviewing over 100 Product Design luminaries about how to build a great portfolio and land the job you want. Their collective advice, tips, tricks, and wisdom will be invaluable to students and anyone who wants to get into the industry. We want to thank everyone who contributed an interview—you are amazing!

    Also, we have launched a new, updated and expanded, second edition of the original book:

    BREAKING IN: Advertising

    Author William Burks Spencer has added 29 new interviews with Creative Directors from all over the world. The total number of interviews is now over 130 and much more global in scope. Students and juniors in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia will find invaluable advice from Creative Directors much closer to home.

    And, as if that weren’t enough, we have this snazzy new website and URL as well. Last but not least, we changed our Twitter name to the shorter and snappier @breakingin so please follow us there or enter your email address above and let the new blog posts come to you.

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    The interviewer is interviewed

    Breaking In author William Spencer was recently interviewed by Christopher Cryer of Shellsuit Zombie, a UK-based organization that is all about helping young creatives. That’s what we’re all about too!

    Here is the full text of the interview:

    Breaking into the ad industry? This’ll be handy.

    A bead of sweat runs down your hand and drips onto the front page of your portfolio (book), distorting the inked title, as your parched lips sip a post-crit beer.

    It’s a hot, muggy, competitive placement season. So if it’s all getting a bit much for you, read this refreshing advice from William Burks Spencer. He’s interviewed over 100 of the world’s top Creative Directors & Creatives – specifically on what they want to see in your book. And now, I’ve interviewed him.

    zombie

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Interview Excerpt: Mark Fitzloff, Executive Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy, Portland

    Check out some great work from Mark Fitzloff.

    WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?

    MF: I look for intelligence, I think. It’s not so much the packaging, or the choice of media, or necessarily how finished something is, but I look for something that makes me think, “I bet that the person who made that is a smart guy or a smart girl and I just want to learn more about that person.” And I know that’s a bit vague, but I think you have to look at something and go, “Did it take a little bit of wit, or insight, or knowledge of some sort to come up with that solution?” And then I think it’s good. That gets me interested in seeing more.

    WS: You said you’re not that concerned about the finish necessarily; do you think sketches can be enough these days, or not?

    MF: It’s kind of a sliding scale. I think that I’d be lying if I said that I would prefer something that was unfinished. I think that we all pride ourselves on saying we’re looking for something smart and it doesn’t matter what form it takes. That said, polish can’t hurt. It’s just the old “polishing a turd” cliché that I think is absolutely true—it’s not going to help if the idea’s not there.

    But what I wouldn’t suggest is poking at something. I think we do this, whether it’s a student book or an actual commercial you’re working on. It’s like poking at a dead thing on the road: the more you poke at the dead frog, it’s going to start to fall apart. You’ve got that stick and you’re just trying to tweak this, and push that. At best, no one’s going to notice and it won’t really matter. You’re just wasting your time. At worst, you’re actually going to make it worse and it’s going to start to fall apart. So I think that you have to use trusted opinions around you because sometimes you get so close to something that you’re not sure when to say, “Okay, pencils down. This is good enough to communicate the idea–that’s all I need to do.”

    Now, there’s lots of different jobs out there. If you’re more design heavy or if you’re hoping to get a studio job [it’s different]. Certainly a lot of art directors would probably have a different answer. They are going to be looking for execution. But as far as I’m concerned, if a sketch can deliver that little flash of genius, or intelligence, then you’re done—time to move to the next thing.

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Next Up: Mark Fitzloff

    Mark Fitzloff is Executive Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy, Portland.

    Chrysler – “Born of Fire”

    Old Spice – “Painted Experience”

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Interview Excerpt: Ty Montague, Founder & Partner, Co:, New York

    Check out some great work from Ty Montague.

    WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?

    TM: I always look for two things: Work that makes me uncomfortable and work that falls outside the bounds of what most folks would consider to be advertising. What I tell juniors is that, for the rest of their career, they will have someone telling them why a certain idea is too weird or crazy to show to a client. This is their time to show what they really believe is great. I hired a guy once because he had invented a line of products that were designed to raise money for the democratic party…peanut butter, jelly, stuff like that. I thought it was a genius way to raise money and, at the same time, raise awareness for the cause while people are walking down the aisle at Walmart or Piggly Wiggly. It’s not a crazy or extreme idea, just a really smart way for the party to communicate in a new way with people, and to raise money.

    I also consciously look for people who have creative passions outside of advertising: photography or painting or poetry or music or whatever. I think that the more advertising draws from and stays close to the fine arts the better off we will be as an industry.

    The third thing I look for these days is an appreciation for the possibilities of technology. I just read that the History Channel is using Foursquare to promote a show about the history of America by enabling little pop-ups that tell you about the history of the location where you are checking in. Genius. Very much advertising, but advertising that is completely contextual and hyper-local. A book with ideas like that in it goes a long way with me.

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Next Up: Ty Montague

    Ty Montague is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Co: in New York.

    Bing – “Fast Forward”

    Smirnoff – “Green Tea Party”

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Interview Excerpt: Gerry Graf, Founder, Barton F. Graf 9000, New York

    Check out some great work from Gerry Graf.

    WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?

    GG: The first thing I look for is campaign ideas. It’s like the first filter. Not just a lot of one-shot-y things, or guerrilla tactics, or this and that. Just a bigger idea. And then I look for people who don’t think the way I think. I like to look at an ad and not really be able to figure out how the person came up with it. I mean, a lot of times, you still see the same crap…like you see a lot of toothpaste ads with a lot of white people because it makes things really white. I love seeing ads that I like but not understanding what wavelength that person is on. So, odd thinking, 
I guess.

    WS: How did you get into the industry initially?

    GG: I was a stock broker when I graduated from college. I wrote for a comedy review at Notre Dame. I went to the University of Notre Dame and I loved doing that. So I kind of had a sit-down with myself and I wanted to wake up each morning and want to do what my job was. And I thought back to what my favorite thing to do was and it was writing for that review. So I screwed around with pilots and all that kind of stuff, and it didn’t go anywhere and somebody said, “You should try advertising.”

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon

    Next Up: Gerry Graf

    Kayak – “Brain Surgeon”

    Nextel – “Dance Party”

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    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon