Product Design
  • Interview Excerpt: Scott Nowell, Co-Founder & Executive Creative Director, The Monkeys, Sydney

    Check out the work of Scott Nowell.

    [ … ]

    So once you’re looking at the work, what impresses you?

    For a junior book you just want to see some interesting and fresh thought. I think a lot of students’ books have what that person thinks you need to see. But really you want to see what kind of thinker they are. We hire people who have hardly any ads in their book but they’ve done an amazing blog and we know they can write, or they’ve got a clever business idea or solution. You just want to see a fresh take on the world, whether that’s in advertising or in another pursuit that could be applicable to what we do here.

    It’s got to stop you. Like a consumer [seeing an ad]. If you can engage a jaded creative director then you’re most of the way there.

    [ … ]

    Can you think of any examples of when it’s worked well?

    One girl here came from AWARD School and had a lot of design work, having previously worked as a designer. And she had a few design and business projects that we just loved, and then she had her ad school stuff which demonstrated that she could think in that concise advertising way. But in combination it was a much stronger package than if it was just the ad work.

    You just want to see a fresh take on the world. And that’s what advertising is. You’ve got to have a fresh take on a car or chocolate milk. It’s always good to see people who are obviously into what they are doing. We had another talented girl who came in with ads, but she also had a website where she was selling products, and some of those products had gone into the Museum of Modern Art. We were sold on that website.

    One of our other guys started here after working as a designer for a company called Mambo, which is an Australian surf label. He’d worked on ads for Mambo but never for an ad agency. We liked the way he thought and the design skills he brought and hired him.

    It is a wide-open thing; you could do anything. But it makes a person more interesting. If someone comes in with a bunch of ads and says, “And here are some bike designs; I’m building a bike.” If it’s presented well, that’s great. I don’t know how I’m going to apply it now, but we might be able to apply that kind of thinking.

    [ … ]

    Do you have tips about getting in touch with creative directors?

    Don’t do creepy things. Don’t stalk them. No Photoshopped pictures with the creative director’s head on it. I just wouldn’t do that sort of stuff; you’ll be seen straightaway as a freak. Just do good ideas and be open to what people have to say about them. It can be confusing when you first start out because you’ll go to one person and they’ll say, “That’s great; you’ll get a job soon,” and then you’ll go to someone else and they’ll say, “This is rubbish; you’re nowhere.”

    The best thing to do is keep working. Get briefs and keep working on them. If you can go and meet a creative director and you seem to be getting on, just ask them for a brief. If it’s alive or dead it doesn’t matter. If you come back with work it shows a bit of initiative. Attitude is so much of it. If you’ve got people who are sitting there with decent ideas and you can tell they’ve got a bit of talent and they’ve really got drive and a good attitude, you know they’ll make it. But if you have talented people and their attitude isn’t good, they’ll either have a reality check and do well, or they’ll just fade away.

    [ … ]

    I’m out of questions. Is there anything else you want to say?

    Just on the attitude thing: we’ve met quite a few people who come in and say, “We’ve been at this place and it’s terrible…they kill good ideas and we want to work somewhere cool like your place.” The reality is it’s hard everywhere. And you never want people who slag off where they have been. It is acknowledged that it’s difficult to get work through at certain places, but there’s no point in bad-mouthing anyone or anything. And it’s always good to see people with a positive attitude, even if they’re working at the worst place and they say, “We keep trying; it’s pretty hard, but every day we try to come up with new things.” So attitude is a major factor. Good ideas and attitude. And don’t be afraid to put stuff in that you think is good that is not advertising at all.

    Scott Nowell

    Scott Nowell

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Next Up: Scott Nowell

    Scott Nowell is Owner and Creative Director of The Monkeys in Sydney.

    MLA Australia Day Richie’s BBQ

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Interview Excerpt: Ian Cohen, Owner & Creative Director, Wexley School for Girls, Seattle

    Check out the work of Ian Cohen.

    [ … ]

    What do you look for in a student book?

    I look for different qualities depending on whether or not I am looking at an art director or writer book. But in general I like seeing a variety of clients and voices, attention to detail, and unique approaches to solving problems.

    For writers, I look for someone who has a unique way of approaching ideas and creating different voices for each client. But it is important that those voices and tones are right for the client, not just writing different for different’s sake. I also like writing that doesn’t feel too perfectly crafted. Any writer can write a nice, crafted headline. It’s like any doctor can give someone a shot. So I am not a fan of a book full of headlines. Having some great headlines, so I can see how you tackle them, is great, but try other writing approaches too. I love writing that feels more like a conversation with the consumer than the company talking at the consumer. Also, I want to look at the writing and feel like it could only be for that company. Not anyone else.

    One problem with student books is that the student doesn’t always get into a real client’s problems enough to let those problems help them create a difference. For example, Diadora Soccer is Italian. To compete with Nike and Adidas, that is their one point of difference. But in a student book, you might still see headlines about how hard the shoes can kick. It’s more than that. And if you can find that true difference, it will help your concepts and writing and art direction stand out.

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Next Up: Ian Cohen

    Ian Cohen is Owner and Creative Director of Wexley School for Girls in Seattle.

    Seattle Sounders

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Interview Excerpt: Nick Worthington, Executive Creative Director, Colenso BBDO, Auckland

    Check out the work of Nick Worthington.

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

    [ … ]

    What I’m really looking for in a book is original thinking. And I’m looking for people who could potentially come into the department and not replicate what everyone is doing. The most disappointing books are the ones where you know every idea in there could have been done by anyone in your creative department. So really they are bringing nothing new. If you’re just coming into the industry, you should be full of ideas, opinions, and points of view, which might not be practical. They might be completely outlandish, but they should communicate something fast, have a clear point of view, and do so in a way that is surprising.

    The other thing is I want a depth of thinking. I’d say 90 percent of the books I look at have one really great thought. And then they have nine other campaigns which are kind of fine. And the books that really stand out are the ones with 10 really great thoughts. It’s really hard to do, but it is the thing that students wanting to get hired—not just wanting an internship—have to do. If they can do one great idea, they can do two, they can do three, they can do four; they just haven’t done them yet. I think a lot of students accept ordinary very quickly in the work that they show.

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Next Up: Nick Worthington

    Nick Worthington is Executive Creative Director of Colenso BBDO, based in Auckland.

    Wrangler – “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

    Levi’s – “Drugstore”

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Interview Excerpt: Warren Brown, Creative Founder, BMF Advertising, Sydney

    Check out the work of Warren Brown.

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

    I look for clarity of thought. I like a combination of logic and madness. We work in an industry where we solve problems, and trying to define what is the problem that we’re actually trying to solve is quite often the biggest challenge. So I like people to have a very analytical way of approaching a problem and figure out what is important and what isn’t. If there’s a logic to the construct of your argument or idea, then you need to deliver it with a sense of irreverence and madness. And not fall into the trap of delivering it in a dry fashion that won’t catch anyone’s attention or get them interested. It’s a very “yin and yang” thing; if the fundamentals of the thinking are sound and given a “sticky wrapping,” then they will engage people.

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Next Up: Warren Brown

    Warren Brown is the Creative Founder of BMF Advertising in Sydney.

    Toohey’s Extra Dry – “The Quest”

    Toohey’s Extra Dry “HarvesTED”

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Interview Excerpt: Tony Liu, Greater China Partner, M&C Saatchi aeiou, Shanghai

    Check out the work of Tony Liu.

    What do you think about showing work other than advertising?

    I hired someone with no knowledge of advertising but she had a sketchbook, and I hired her as a copywriter. Later she became more interested in making beautiful visuals, so she turned into an art director. And now she is a very good creative director.

    Sometimes students have doodles—a small drawing—and next to it a paragraph or small poem. And from that you know that they live. Advertising people need to live life. Without that, there is no way you can have inspiration. You don’t have to always write advertising headlines. If a person loves life and wants to put it down on paper for themselves, that person has merit. As a Chinese creative director we are like a jade finder. There is no way I can know everything about you, but there is something in you that makes me think you have a chance to turn into jade. And I am responsible to help this person develop and turn into jade. And if I’m a student I want to find someone who will do that for me.

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.

    Next Up: Tony Liu

    Tony Liu is Greater China Partner at M&C Saatchi aeiou in Shanghai.

    bad day

    Continue reading

    Read the full interview in BREAKING IN: Learn more about the book or Buy it on Amazon
    The book contains over three times more interview content.