WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?
MH: I look for humanity that goes beyond cleverness. Although I confess that cleverness is very important. I want to see signs that the student isn’t just trying to impress his or her fellow students. I want to feel that the work is strategically smart—and not just attention getting. I want to see a careful, thoughtful presentation of the work. I’m really turned off by misspellings, poor grammar, etc.
WS: How important is finish?
MH: Less important for a writer, more important for an art director.
WS: If ideas are the most important thing, can sketches be enough?
WS: Do you look at actual paper books anymore, or is it all websites?
WS: How important is copy?
MH: Being able to write clearly and well is an asset for anyone. For a writer—even in these minimal-copy times—it is essential.
WS: Do you need to see long-copy ads?
MH: I like to see something that shows at least basic writing skills and the ability to express thoughts clearly. That’s true for writers, art directors, strategic thinkers, etc.
WS: What do you think of showing work that is not advertising?
MH: Be respectful of my time: I’m not going to spend a lot of time with your journal. But, yes, I like seeing things that reach beyond advertising.
WS: Do you have any other advice for a student or junior trying to get into the business?
MH: Be enthusiastic. Demonstrate a willingness to continue learning. Let me know it would be fun, interesting, and rewarding to work with you.
And to give you some insight into Mike Hughes, here is a video from Mike’s induction into the One Club Hall of Fame in 2010.