Product Design
  • Interview Excerpt: Nick Strada, Creative Director, AKQA San Francisco

    Check out some great work from Nick Strada.

    NS: [ … ]

    I think advertising agencies are no longer just doing advertising. The job has changed. And we’re thinking of events and we’re thinking of interactive installations and we’re thinking of galleries and we’re thinking of exhibits and sponsorships and uniforms and letterhead. And I think that the more ways you can express your talent and creativity and ability to solve problems, the better.

    And, as I’ve said, you want to see someone’s personality in a portfolio. If I see your book before I see you, I want to feel like I know you a little bit, or a little bit about you. And I think other projects are great. In fact, it’s really dry when all you see is a stack of ads. I think it’s not competitive because what people trying to get into business need to remember is, the business is crying out for fresh, new talent but it’s still a buyer’s market. There’s still more demand for places than there are places. For the top 10 agencies in London—take your top 10, whichever 10 those are—they will probably, between them, hire seven to eight junior teams this year. And there’s however many hundred junior teams looking for work this year. And so it’s super, super competitive and anything you can do to give yourself an edge is definitely smart, I think.

    WS: Do you have any tips for someone who’s putting together a book?

    NS: I think just “do.” Just get bored easily. And I bore really, really easily and I guess, if I’m bored of this thing that I’m working on, and I have an interest and a stake in it, everybody else is going to be really bored of it, you know? People on the street and creative directors in another ad agency that you might want to impress. I think boring easily is really important, and I think staying stimulated—just filling the bucket in your head with films and all sorts of things.

    [ … ]

    Also, I think that the worst thing that you can do when you’re trying to improve is to try to change your portfolio for everybody you meet. I see a lot of students who have changed their books over and over again because they’re trying to tailor it to what they think the agency they’re going into wants to see, and it ends up not being their portfolio anymore. And, if they do get a job off of it, the book that was hired isn’t really representative of what they can do or want to do, and it never ends up being [good]. Because they went into an agency that doesn’t really want them but they want this sort of construct that was hired, and then the team can’t really deliver it day-to-day. And they don’t want to. And that’s an unhappy marriage. So I think if you stay true to yourself, work really, really hard, and do interesting things, interesting things will happen to you.

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