In case you missed it, check out some great work from Mark Schruntek.
WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?
MS: I think it’s always going to come down to good ideas. And the biggest challenge is to differentiate a good idea from a great one. Sometimes it’s the smallest details that somebody actually took the time to figure out to get to the best way to really communicate something. A great idea has to have everything: a good strategy and a great execution that really nails it. So you have to have it all.
WS: What do you think about finish? Can sketches be enough?
MS: If you’re an art director, it’s probably wise to finish things. There are a lot of mediocre books out there, and if you have great ideas, those will shine, and people will notice them, but if you can show your craft, you’re going to be much more valuable.
WS: And, for a writer, what about copy? Is that important to have?
MS: Yes. I wouldn’t suggest that you make a whole book out of long-copy ads. But, eventually, it will be important. You’re going to get stuck with a radio assignment. Whether or not you want to do it, that is going to happen. You’re not always going to be able to use visuals when you’re in the real world. I don’t think long copy is a mandatory, but it is important and it is a good skill to have. You just better make sure that the copy is really, really good, if you’re going to put something like that in your book. Creative directors tend to look through things quickly. They will click through the website or flip through the pages extremely quickly, and they may not even read that copy, so you’ve got to make them want to read it, and once they do, you don’t want them to be angry that they did.
WS: What do you think about showing work that isn’t advertising?
MS: I think it is important on some level for a creative person to have multiple outlets. I think you shouldn’t be completely married to the world of advertising. And if you have other interests, I think that is part of what you are bringing to the table as a creative person. To know that you have all those things and that you can take those experiences and you can apply that to your advertising work as well is good. The people who lead more interesting lives may have the better portfolio. That’s not scientifically proven.
The first thing I’m going to look through is your advertising work, and if you have some really interesting hobbies, and other things that you’re doing, I want to know about them. That’s the good thing about creative people too is they have so many interests, and you find musicians and artists, and people doing all sorts of things that are related to advertising. For me, that extra work is secondary. But, some agencies are all about hiring people who aren’t in advertising. And don’t have any ads in their book. I’m just not from that school.