My first Christmas break in portfolio school was great. I crossed several states to return home. I relaxed. I snowboarded. I read. I didn’t think about advertising at all.
Category: art directors
Our friend Brian Thibodeau is currently teaching at The Chicago Portfolio School. (He’s a VCU Brandcenter grad who’s worked at The Martin Agency and now Ogilvy.) Brian recently launched a new blog called Look@Things for his art direction class. He’s got great taste and a knack for seeking out eye candy and inspiration. So give it a peak.
(Brian’s also the guy who sends us new headers for the blog. Check out his latest.)
We all gotta learn something
I was just flipping through the Communication Arts first ever Typography Annual and came across this quote from one of the judges:
“We need to teach designers to be better readers. Once they respect the text, they’ll want to set it well.”
I buy that. Here’s my open question to you readers: What do copywriters need to do to better respect design and art direction?
"Constantly Being Out There"
I was in portfolio school the first time I heard about Fairey. It fact, I don’t even think I heard about him. What I heard was, “There’s this guy who makes these Andre the Giant stickers and gives them away for free. They’re pretty cool. Look, there’s one on the back of that stop sign over there.”
Years later, he’s the guy who designed the first presidential portrait to be purchased by the United States National Portrait Gallery before the President had been sworn into office.
What this former schoolmate of Fairey’s told me was this: “I honestly don’t know if ‘Andre the Giant has a Posse’ is a great concept or not. It could be brilliant. It could be absurd. Maybe both, I don’t know. What I do know is that never quitting, and constantly being out there can make all the difference.”
Carl Sandburg and Manifestos
We’ve written before about manifestos. A well-written one can be a powerful opening to a meeting. Couple it with the right art direction, and a great manifesto can sell a campaign, even if it never appears as a print ad or in the voiceover.
The silent litany of the workmen goes on –
Speed, speed, we are the makers of speed.
We make the flying, crying motors,
Clutches, brakes, and axles,
Gears, ignitions, accelerators,
Spokes and springs and shock absorbers.
The silent litany of the workmen goes on –
Speed, speed, we are the makers of speed;
Axles, clutches, levers, shovels,
We make signals and lay the way –
The trees come down to our tools,
We carve the wood to the wanted shape.
The whining propeller’s song in the sky,
The steady drone of the overland truck,
Comes from our hands; us; the makers of speed.
Speed; the turbines crossing the Big Pond,
Every nut and bolt, every bar and screw,
Every fitted and whirring shaft,
They came from us, the makers,
Us, who know how,
Us, the high designers and the automatic feeders,
Us, with heads,
Us, with hands,
Us on the long haul, the short flight,
We are the makers; lay the blame on us –
The makers of speed.
(I’m not expecting any takers on this, but if any of you art directors want to art direct Sandburg’s poem and submit it, we’ll post it, tweet it, link to your portfolio and sing your praises.)
The New Yorker, iPhones, and Experimentation
Found this on I Am Hilarious.
Try this when you’re stuck
Go pick up a novel of a writer whose style you admire. Say it’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez – he’s about as unmarketing-speaky as you can get. Open to any page. Now copy the words of the page into your own notebook.
When you’re finished, start writing what you need to say about your product. You’ll find you’re doing it in an entirely different voice.
You can do this with Hemmingway and Steinbeck as easily as you can with Dan Brown and David Sedaris. Go ahead and try some poetry. Works with Sandberg and Billy Collins, too.
Art directors: Do the same by taking out a big book on fine art. Or photography. Or design. You don’t have to recreate each painting. But you can try. Sketch out the composition. Study the shadows and the colors. Spend a half hour with a particular style. Then jump into your layout while it’s fresh in your brain.
Small trick. But it works. And it’s much better than staring at a blank page, or just writing and laying out what you think the client (or the awards show juries) expect.