WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?
DL: First of all, I am a “website” person, not a “book” person. Some people are still romantic about books. I am not. I like a site because not only do “ideas” have to come across clearly, concisely, and profoundly to transmit through that medium—as it is less tactile and emotional—but it really does ultimately become extremely poignant and engaging if the ideas are strong and, of course, that is the most important thing. Some may argue that the tactility of a hard portfolio cannot be beaten, but the fact is, we must understand and accept that the digital page is the current focus and the future. The publishing world is equally substantiating that as they go full-speed online. It also gives those who do not have as much digital experience an opportunity to express themselves in this medium and to show their skills in creating a user-friendly experience as well as their creativity.
Beyond the ideas, it will be the formation and character of presentation. It’s individuality, it’s craft, it’s fluidity, and it’s simplicity. It has to blend both your vision of who you are, whether by means of its craft or by means of its aura and impression tonally, with the power of the work. But, at the end of the day, you need to make it easy work for the recipient. If it is hard work, you will be passed over.
And, last of all, no segregation. I look for the power of ideas in its ability to reign across all platforms without compartmentalizing them. It should be unified, natural, and simply an assumed part of the creative process of engagement.
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WS: Do you have any tips for someone who wants to get into advertising?
DL: Yes. It’s not all about ideas and sites alone. That is only 50 percent of it. The rest is about how interesting you are as a personality, character, human being. They will be judging you in terms of how you fit into their cultures. Make sure that you do enough research on all the companies you are interested in, and try to understand those cultures to see if and how you would fit in. It is equally about presentation of yourself. How you talk, what you say, how you sit, walk, move, and what you feel free enough to emote. You are a package. Not just a site or a book. Be open. Be you. And be involved!
And lastly: Make sure you know what is going on around you. Keep in touch with “the street” of advertising. Get a grip on the future and the direction it may or may not go in. Have an opinion, or at least work on one daily, in response to what you see, read, feel, and experience. Your voice does not need to be accurate. But there has to be a voice.