8 posts tagged black art director
8 posts tagged black art director
Last night, I went to an SVC lecture hosted by Hilary Lee of Creature titled, “How NOT to Get a Job at Creature”. These free SVC chats have always been one of my favorite things that the school does, and I went to dozens of them before I ever took my first class there. You get some quality information, get some questions answered, and maybe even a little face-to-face time at the end. It’s a good return on your investment, which again, is zero dollars.
A little under a year ago, I came home from the Apple Store with my brand new, 16GB iPad. It was met with, well, derision. Already known as the resident Apple Fanboy in my circle of friends, buying this “oversized iPhone” did little to quell those arguments. One year later, the iPad is the best selling Tablet PC in history, dozens of “iPad killers” have tried and failed to do exactly that, and even my father, a legendary Apple hater, has now paired his company-issued iPhone with an iPad.
I admit, I bought it on potential. As I told my brother at the time, I bought it, and then figured out how best to use it. The idea of keeping my research books on this little device alone sold me on it. The potential of what talented iPhone devs could do with the extra power and screen real estate had me drooling. It delivered everything I hoped and more, yet there is still room to grow, and the iPad 2 looks to improve on the experience.
On the day of the iPad 2 launch, I thought I’d showcase some of the apps that I have used over the past year that have helped me as a designer, and budding art director.
I am always surprised when people tell me they read this journal. As I tell my mother whenever she chides me about swearing too much, I write this blog entirely for myself. If people are reading this, it’s a bonus. If I ever somehow wind up on Digg and get a ton of website traffic, that basic premise will be the same. There won’t be ads, I won’t start pandering, and I won’t change who I am. But I am thankful to the people who do read this whenever it pops up, and even more so to the people who tell me they read it. And yes, I will eventually get to the whole internship thing, because that’s what most of you have been asking about. But first…
In honor of NBC making my television watching easy for me and putting every show I care to watch on that network on one night, I’ve decided to make my triumphant return to my blog with five mini-blogs so that I can catch you up with everything that’s happened in the last few months. Why five? Because Outsourced sucks, and is pretty racist to boot, and I don’t want people who would watch THAT mess finding this blog via some random Google search.
I started the final week of the Internship SmackDown! feeling pretty good. I had given everything I had to the class, and only had one week that was a stinker, so I felt I had a good shot at things. Earlier in the week, Cliff even asked me to help him with his final project for class. I felt pretty good about my final project, and I believed in his, so I figured if nothing else, the extra effort couldn’t hurt. In the final critique, Kurt and Mike told us that they were going to pick four finalists to interview. My review went really well, and I figured I had at least a finalist spot in the bag. Then Cliff posted the piece that I helped him with, and that got kudos as well. I figured I was in good shape, until Cliff hit me in the back with a steel chair, and ripped off his shirt to reveal a Copacino + Fujikado T-shirt, while Peter joined in stomping on my lifeless body. The class ended with Peter, Cliff, Kurt and Mike standing triumphant over my prone body while the rest of the class booed and threw rolls of toilet paper at them.
Kinda like this.
So yeah, I didn’t get it. Peter and Cliff picked up the internship spots, and I’m genuinely happy for them. Yes, they picked two winners, and I wasn’t one of them. What happened? I dunno. I started out strong, but somewhere after the Victoria’s Secret debacle, things kinda fell off a cliff. “Derivative and under developed” was the helpful analysis I got. Am I upset? Not anymore. Believe me-it took me two months and three drafts to write this post. The first draft included so many expletives that I think I started making some up, and I was going to cap the thing off with a picture of a bridge alight in flames. So I’ve calmed down since then. But I know things are going to work out fantastic for me, and I know Peter and Cliff will do a great job.
I’m not saying Melissa and I are a perfect couple by any means, but given the massive amount of moves we’ve been through in our relationship, it is surprising that we haven’t ripped each other’s heads off yet. If my math is correct, this has been our seventh move in the nearly 5 years we’ve been together. It’s been a little extreme. But we’ve found a cozy little townhome in West Seattle. And yes, we’re going to be here for a while. I’m going to put this here, to make it official: this is the last lease that we are going to sign. The next housing-related piece of paper that I intend to sign will be a mortggage. We feel like we have a place that we can stay for a few years, our landlord is incredibly cool, and with the exception of our cat-owning loner weirdo neighbor, a nice neighborhood. I’m looking forward to getting settled in. Stop on by anytime.
I have became dangerously close to being comfortable with this whole working-from-home thing. I finished a website a month ago for the Oregon and Washington chapters of Meeting Professionals International, and I’m putting the finishing touches on a site for Bellevue College. And after that, I’m tackling another website for a career coach down in Portland. It’s been a rewarding few months, especially when this time last year, I couldn’t tell an <i> tag from an <em> tag. I mean, I’m still trying to figure most of it out, but it’s coming together much better for me. Part of my agreement with the MPI folks includes a complementary admission to their conference, as well as being part of their tradeshow as a sponsor, so there’s some potential to pick up some new clients.
At the same time, I’m itching to get back into an agency. While I love the freedom that comes with freelancing, I do miss the workplace, co-workers, and having colleagues I can bounce ideas off. It’s just kinda lonely. Melissa always says that she wants to kick me in the mornings when I get to sleep in. Yeah, I get to sleep in, and work whenever I want, but I also have to work at times when I’d rather not-important family moments like holidays or Ohio State football games, for example. So I’m also looking for a full-time work. (Alert your friends!) I had a fabulous resume writer take a look at my resume, and she managed to make me look far better than I probably am, but now I need to get my portfolio back into shape. I’m meeting with Wexley again on Friday, and I hope they’ll give it another once-over, and we’ll see if I’ve made any progress since I’ve started this blog. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted.
Parks and Recreation
Melissa bought me NFL Training Camp for Christmas. Since we’ve moved even further away from an LA Fitness, and the 24-Hour Fitness around here is a dump, I haven’t been super motivated to workout. And with our Hawaii Honeymoon looming in May, I want to drop as much weight as possible. Weirdly enough, when I was living in Minneapolis, I routinely drove a half-hour in traffic during a Minnesota winter to go to the gym, but I can’t motivate myself to drive down to Southcenter. I can’t figure it out either.
Anyway, NFL Training Camp is another one of those Wii fitness “games” that get you moving just enough to convince you that you’re actually working out. For now, that’s what I need. Problem is, whoever decided these workouts were easy needs to find himself in a bathroom with a drunk Ben Rothlesberger. These exercises are TOUGH. You start out by picking your favorite team (Vikings), and a player to train with. I picked Brett Favre, but he retired right after I selected him, so I picked Antoine Winfield instead. It starts out slowly with warm up exercises, then jumps right into what I like to call DEATH MODE, where Virtual Winfield proceeds to try and break my spirit.
Virtual Winfield: Okay, it’s time for Side Planks. Get into position, and hold this for for twenty minutes. I’m going to go make a sandwich.
Me: Umph, gag, gasp.
VW: HEY! Don’t drop your hips, you PANSY! Keep that shit in a straight line. Don’t make me come through this TV. Do you think I won a Super Bowl ring by taking it easy with Side Planks!? Me: But you’ve never won a Super Bowl—
Virtual Brett: Hey guys, I changed my mind again. Do you want to train with me?
VW: Go home, Brett. I got this. Okay, let’s do this QB Challenge. It should be easy for you. I mean, the Patriots can do it, and they have a GIRL playing quarterback.
Virtual Antoine Winfield is a mean son of a BITCH.
I have no idea how to tie 30 Rock to anything even remotely tangible in my life, but I do want to boast a bit, so I’ll do this:
30 Rock is an Emmy-award winning show. And as of 2011, I am a ADDY-award winner!
On the advice of Mike and Kurt, and the encouragement of Cliff and Melissa, I entered a couple of my final Zipcar pieces from my Copacino class into a local student advertising competition. And then I completely forgot about entering, so the email was a bit of a surprise. On top of that, Cliff entered his ru2hot piece that I helped him with, so I’m a finalist in two separate divisions! After the shock of being named a finalist subsided, I had a paralyzing thought: What, exactly, did I enter? Shit.
Of course, during the move, I tossed out tons of paper I had no use for, and my backup entry form was in the massive paper dump. I had PDFs of my entry forms, but I couldn’t remember which specific pieces that I entered, and they were now asking for digital copies of. Just my luck, right? After tearing apart the half-unpacked boxes in my office, I managed to find the thumb drive that had backups of everything. Whew.
So what does all this mean? Well, being named a finalist means I’m either a Silver or Gold ADDY winner. The Gold winners automatically get forwarded to the district competitions for further judging. Silver winners can enter as well, but have to pay the entry costs. I won’t know where I stand until the event, and I don’t yet know when that will be. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on my progress. By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that I have requested Melissa refer to me as an “award-winning husband”. But seriously, would it kill her?
Well, we’re now up to date. Well, actually, slightly behind, because I have some thoughts on the Super Bowl commercials that I’ll get to in a later update. So I’m still behind, I guess.
Last year, Melissa and I had a mantra. “This is our year.” Whenever things seemed too bleak to face, or stress threatened to overtake us, we’d look at each other, and repeat that phrase. And by all accounts, it was a very successful year for us. We got married, we got our financial mess under control, I started working more, and had a very successful experience with my Copacino class. But I’m not done yet. I’m almost there, and I’m going to keep pushing until I get to where I need to go.
2011 is going to be MY year.
As some of you may know, I’ve had a desire to build iPhone/iPad apps for some time now. I even put out a request on Twitter, which just resulted in a bunch of spam, and didn’t really get me any closer to developing my own ideas. But I didn’t have the time or money to invest into learning how to code, and really, that’s not my forte anyway. It seemed like my ideas were destined to live in my sketchbook forever, or until someone else did it, leaving me to angrily blog about it.
A few months ago, I took a class on mobile development over at School of Visual Concepts here in Seattle, and one of the speakers was a overly enthusiastic fellow who was showing off his new publishing platform. His name was Jim Heising, and he reminded me of Andy Richter-or, to be more accurate, he looked like one of Andy Richter’s quintuplet brothers from Arrested Development.
But late night sidekick lookalike thoughts aside, his platform, Red Foundry, seemed to be the answer to what I was looking for. An opportunity to take my designs, and get them onto the App Store-with Red Foundry taking a share of the sales for taking on the cost of development. (Hey!)
I got a chance to talk with Mr. Heising afterward, and we even talked about the possibility of coming in to do some design work-which didn’t work out, a point I am still terribly bummed out about. But we ended our conversation with the promise of keeping in touch, and then kinda went our own ways. I got busy with meltdowns and ad classes, and didn’t really think about Red Foundry again until a few weeks ago.
As luck would have it, they just started sending out invites for their beta. The service has really matured since I first saw the site a few months ago. The hightlights-
1. It’s completely free to develop apps, and you can develop as many as you’d like. And with their special iPhone viewer, you can test your apps right on your iPhone with no hassle.
2. The development application looks to be completely customizable. While there are templates, it looks like you can change any look and behavior of your application. This is a good thing, because I think the iPhone OS UI is starting to look dated, and the apps that get away from that tend to be my favorites.
3. You can connect to a variety of sources, so if I wanted to integrate Facebook, or the RSS feed for this blog, I could. That really gives designers limitless possibilities for creating content and pushing it to the end user.
4. You pay a one-time fee to produce your apps, and after you set the price, Red Foundry takes a cut depending on the package that you choose. I’d like to see an option to just pay for the development and publish the app myself. That was an option that was on the site earlier, but seems to have disappeared.
All in all, it looks like a platform that has matured, and it looks to make app publishing accessible to everyone. I’ve applied to the beta program-here’s hoping I can get a sneak peek!
I kicked ass today.
I know I’ve repeatedly said that I’m not going to focus on this internship and get all competitive, and that I was going to take the class in stride, but sometimes, you get a win when you need a win, and dammit, you have to celebrate.
Why I Needed A Win
Monday was a rough day for me. The morning started out with the revelation that one of the biggest projects I would have to date just got killed by the client. I spent the rest of the morning trying to get answers, only to be told none were there. Between that and worrying about money coming in, and trying to nail down potential clients, it was one gut punch after another. On top of all that, I’d just come back from a getaway weekend in Las Vegas, and despite all my best intentions, had gotten little homework done.
I really wanted to bail on the class. I only had half the assignments done, and the stress from my clients were pushing me close to the edge. I was trying not to lose my head. A-huh-huh-huh.
I’m learning a lot more in this class than I did in the Wexley class. I’m trying to avoid direct comparisons, but as we talked about strategy, and pulling a strategy statement from an ad campaign, I felt something click-it made me want to go back to all of the mock campaigns cluttering up my book and make them better. I felt like I was learning a technique to make my ads work, not just a visual and tagline. I don’t know that I ever had that moment at Wexley.
For our in-class assignment, we were tasked to create a campaign for craigslist. Art directors were to create a headline driven campaign, and copywriters were to create a visual campaign. We had a half hour. Before Kurt left, he made a passing comment about craigslist being a “good place to meet people”. In my head, I said, “yeah, to fuck.”
People use craigslist for any number of reasons. It’s the ultimate message board to find whatever-or whomever-you need. And the gift and the curse about craigslist is that it’s plain and simple. People have tried to redesign craigslist for years, tried to give it a brand image, but they’ve stubbornly held on to its simple page of blue links. It is their brand image.
I dove into my iPod and started nosing around the site. I noticed that the headlines sometimes had some very catchy writing, and that could be the hook of the ad. craigslist is the ultimate messageboard. I can work with that. I jotted down a few ideas, then realized, maybe the copy is the visual. Maybe I can use the brand image of Times New Roman and a blue underlined link as my visual and copy, and the breadcrumb link that takes you back to craigslist’s homepage could be the logo. I started jotting down ideas.
Hell Hath No Fury Like a w4m Scorned.
Where Free Wood Could Be Found In Three Different Sections.
Where Full Service Web Design Happens for Only $200. (Yeah, maybe I was a bit bitter.)
Reconnect With Mr. Poopnoodle.
Rough ideas to be sure, but I felt like I had something there. Even better, I thought they had the potential to be great. The hair was standing on the back of my neck. I’ve been told that happens when a great idea comes to you, but I’ve never had that moment. I was literally bouncing in my chair, ready to pour my brilliance all over the bulletin board. The skies would open up, angels would sing, job offers would fill my inbox to the breaking point.
Unless Kurt and Mike said my idea sucked. Shit.
I have a long-standing policy when it comes to presenting in class that I cultivated way back in my art classes at the University of Dayton. I only share it here because there are only eight of your reading this, and I trust you won’t tell anybody.
Always present third.
Why third? You don’t go first because you don’t want to look like a kiss-ass rushing to show your stuff. You don’t go last because you might get rushed because of time, or there might be a chance that someone shows your idea first. You go third. Because after the first two, you’ve got an bead on how the teachers are critiquing, and you can prepare mentally for the firing squad [link]. And I’ve been in critiques where the first few went well, then someone puts something lousy up, and if you have the misfortune of presenting after that, you may as well jump into a pit of rusty X-Acto knifes and broken metal T-squares-it’ll hurt less.
(I realize there are some of you reading this who have no idea what a T-square is or how to use one. Just know that I hate you.)
You go third. Always. Except this time, dammit, I was going first. I’ve often heard about the feeling you get when you’re on to something great-the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you get goosebumps. I’ve never had that feeling before Monday night. I just wanted to get it on the board. I practically skipped up there, and pinned my mockups to the board.
I close my eyes, and wait for the bullets. Only this time, I opened one eye.
“I like them”, Mike said. “Relevant, interesting, funny-very solid.” Kurt also liked them, though he expressed concern that “A Great Place to Meet People” would never actually be able to run anywhere.
I felt great. I felt like I hit a homerun, and I made a note in my book to flesh out this idea for my portfolio. So far, I’ve got my Up North campaign and my craigslist campaign to wrestle into presentable shape. Remember what I said back in week one?
This is first and foremost a class, and I’m there to learn, and hopefully work with some really great people. Even if I don’t get the internship, if I leave the class with a better book than I currently have, it will have still been completely worthwhile.
I already have two strong ideas that I can flesh out for my book. This class has already paid off in spades.
NEXT TIME: I take a break from the class recaps to figure out this black people in advertising thing. Can black people only sell ads to other black people? I dig into AdAge’s Diversity Special to figure out what the hell I’m getting into. Also, I enjoy a yummy Chipotle burrito.
Last year, I took an advertising concepts class at the Wexley School for Girls. While it was an enjoyable class, and I’ve made acquaintances that I still talk to today, the class felt like it was missing a little something.
Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from that class-most importantly, I discovered that I needed to stop using Photoshop as an idea generator, but instead as a tool. And that I needed to start concepting in a sketchbook, not by poking around Google Images. But those were self-discovery things that I started doing on my own, not because of anything I necessarily learned in that class. I wanted to have the feeling of experience what an ad agency goes through on a day-to-day basis. I wanted to feel that energy of having to create ideas on the fly, and have those ideas shot down for being complete garbage. I’m a masochist that way, I guess.
So it was with a raised eyebrow that I read about Copacino + Fujikado’s Creative Thinking and Concepts + Internship Smackdown! The class description reads like your usual advertising class (“advertising art directors and copywriters don’t just create ads. They’re just as likely to work on websites, mobile campaigns…”), but it started out with an unexpected roundhouse kick to the jaw:
First, let’s explain the Internship Smackdown portion of this class. Based on the work, attitude, and chutzpah students bring to this class, one of you will be chosen to receive a paid internship at the esteemed ad agency, Copacino + Fujikado. You’ll get more details at the first class, but this is a rare and valuable opportunity to move your ad career ahead by several steps.
Copacino + Fujikado have put out consistently great work, from the Let Leonard In campaign for the Seattle Aquarium to the Boringly Good campaign (above) for Lifewise. The opportunity to work at this shop, to put it succinctly, would not suck.
Of course, I knew that if that was the reason I took the class, I’d fall on my face and get get pissy because they didn’t recognize my brilliance and hire me after the first class. (If you’re reading this, Mike and Kurt, I wouldn’t turn that down, by the way.) This is first and foremost a class, and I’m there to learn, and hopefully work with some really great people. Even if I don’t get the internship, if I leave the class with a better book than I currently have, it will have still been completely worthwhile.
Little did I know, once I walked into that class for the first time, all of that politically correct nonsense would fly out the window. Shit was about to get real.
[Tomorrow: I recap my first class, question myself several hundred times, and wonder if I didn’t stumble into a reality show.]