Product Design
  • Next Up: Craig Davis

    Craig is Adjunct Professor at University of Technology in Sydney, and sits on the Boards of Advance, the Creative Industries Taskforce and Conscious Capitalism Australia. Craig has also served as Co-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer for Publicis Mojo in Australia, Chairman of the Australasian Writers and Art Directors Club and Deputy Chair of The Communications Council.

    In his spare time he founded Brandkarma.com, the world’s first brand-centric social media platform. He blogs and tweets, and has written the most popular column for Campaign Asia-Pacific for the past three years.

    Burn – “Ride”

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

    Interview Excerpt: Mitchell Ratchik, Freelance Creative Director, New York

    Check out some great work from Mitchell Ratchik.

    What do you look for in a student or junior book?

    A student book should be a work of love. This is before you’ve actually “produced” anything or had clients or CDs alter your work. That being said, competition is fierce! I personally look for good thinking above all. I put on a second lens for art directors; they need to demonstrate good type and layout abilities. I’m more forgiving with writers. The best ones solve a problem using a unique perspective, and then they execute it well. A student book should be an extension of your personality and aesthetics.

    Common problems and things to avoid?

    The first big mistake students make is putting work in that they’ve actually “produced” but doesn’t really reflect their best thinking. My advice is “Don’t do it.” I’d rather see smart thinking and the ability to come up with a visual vernacular than some lame ad that actually ran. Also: be focused! The second big mistake is books that have a little of everything, but no focus. If you’re going into advertising, you need ads. It’s okay to show some other stuff as well, but the focus needs to be advertising.

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

    Next Up: Mitchell Ratchik

    Mitchell Ratchik is a Freelance Art Director and Creative Director in New York.

    IBM

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

    Interview Excerpt: CC Tang, Chief Creative Officer for Greater China, Havas Worldwide, Hong Kong

    Check out some great work from CC Tang.

    What do you think of showing work that is not advertising?

    When I was teaching, we had a program where students would work on real briefs. And we were working for the Hong Kong Airport Authority, trying to promote Terminal 2. And we had students from interior design, product design—not just ad students. So our solution was not what the brief was asking for. It was an installation and event. It was a giant chess board with airplanes in different colors. Like a playground. The whole thing was so unexpected that they decided to build it.

    At Ogilvy, where I was trained, they had a saying which came from David Ogilvy himself: “When you hire people, hire people from other trades.” The reason why he said that was that these people may see life differently. I think it’s true. I feel that new ideas are when two old ideas meet for the first time. So if people come from other backgrounds, why not? I don’t expect people I hired to contribute to the agency for the first year or 18 months. Because you have to invest a lot of time to train them. But this doesn’t happen much anymore. Someone is hired and is put to work on a computer doing Photoshop or layouts or retouching, and after a year or two they become very good at that but they may not become a good communicator. Maybe what the industry is lacking now is investing in talent. And I don’t believe the schools can do that. What you learn in school will be obsolete the day you walk out of school. Things are moving so fast.

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

    Next Up: CC Tang

    CC Tang is Chief Creative Officer for Greater China at Havas Worldwide in Hong Kong.

    Nakamichi

    VO (Back translation):

    Not every bird is a song bird.

    Similarly, not every sound equipment is hi-fi (high fidelity).

    Only those who can deliver the true essence of music.

    To capture the real essence of music, it has to be Nakamichi.

    Nakamichi car stereo system, the real song bird.

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

    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