Check out some great work from Gustavo Lauria.
WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?
GL: I like students who explore and have fresh ideas even if those ideas don’t work perfectly. I’d rather see a book with good, but not quite polished, thoughts than one with safe ideas or ideas that follow a typical advertising formula.
The majority of the books that we receive are pretty similar. They are full of two things: Visual solutions that maybe could win a student award but lack anything new, and excessive use of interactivity and technology just to show that they know about them, but lacking a strong concept.
I don’t care if a student has won awards, and I don’t care in what media they developed their work. The only thing that is important is whether they are really thinking—-it doesn’t matter what—-as long as they think, try, and show potential. Then, a CD can always help them make those crazy ideas work.
WS: So you would rather see something bold and daring even if it doesn’t totally work?
GL: Yes. To me, it’s better when an intern or junior creative gives you 20 different ideas that show different thoughts than only three ideas with visual solutions and really nice retouching. It’s not about knowing Photoshop or Illustrator—it’s more about coming up with ideas. When you are a student is the time to make mistakes, and by doing so, you can end up with something very unique.
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WS: Do you think long copy is important to have in a student book?
GL: Yes, it’s not common to see books with good writing. And a good line can really make an ad or a campaign much better. In my opinion, that’s key, and I love to see books from kids who really spend time thinking and coming up with smart lines and copy.
WS: What do you think about putting things in a student book that are not ads?
GL: As I said before, it is about coming up with good ideas. It doesn’t matter if it is a classic long-copy ad, a social-media thing, or an artistic installation. It is great if they have other stuff because it shows that they love to think and create things. It shows passion and creative exploration.
Now anyone can come up with an idea and spread that idea with almost nothing. That’s why the challenge and the opportunity is even greater for everyone. And it’s nice when kids take advantage of that and create something with that freshness that only students have.