Advice: From Brian Thibodeau

Answering the question “If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your job-seeking student self?” is Brian Thibodeau, an art director at the Martin Agency and author of stackingchairs.

First thing I will say is, take the time to teach your self. We expect institutions to give us far too much. The more you learn now while in school, the further ahead you will be.

Working in the interactive space seems to be one of those things that a lot of the old school guys talk about, but still struggle to lead you on. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing better than learning from the “old-school guys” just so long as you also stay up to date on what is happening in the industry. The better you understand the “old-school” the better your work will be in all instances.

The Brandcenter was great about encouraging work in the digital space. They have taken it so far as to include a new digital track. Even so, students should be proactive. It will be up to you in most instances to seek out good interactive work as well as good interactive advice. There is no substitute for hard work. My belief is the better you are at integrating your concept across all channels the better. A banner ad should never be an after thought. All brands should be participating in deep interactive experiences.

Even some agencies struggle with how to incorporate the digital space. This is good and bad. Good, because it allows you to differentiate yourself, and bad because when you graduate you still want to keep learning and feel mentored to a certain degree. So, choose an agency where you can grow.

The beautiful thing about the digital space is that it incorporates all. You can create video, or animation, or engage in great design. There is an endless array of how to engage the consumer. My first year at the brand center, Brian Collins said to me, “If you don’t understand interactive, learn it.” And I’ve been continually learning ever since.

The other thing I would say is to find the art. Michael Angelo, when referring to sculpting, would speak of releasing the image from the stone, rather than creating it. Try to approach your work the same way. What can you release from the brand that will inform your work? I often think of brands as wonderful patrons with deep pockets. Brands can offer great opportunities to create art for mass consumption.


3 thoughts on “Advice: From Brian Thibodeau

  1. This entire post is, of course, delightful, but in it is a single line I want to print on t-shirts and bumperstickers and put places around cities that catch the eye at just the right moment: “I often think of brands as wonderful patrons with deep pockets.”Just. Excellent.


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