If you’re a student putting your book together, here’s some advice from Maria Scileppi, director of 72U
Lead with personal projects. That’s what people really want to see; how you’re thinking, how you’re solving problems, how you see the world. Show the process if you can. And then have three or four campaigns to show that you can blow out an idea. But personal projects are a must, and I would lead with that. That’s how people get hired. Agencies want to see that you can make advertising. But what gets you hired is the personal project, because it resonates with us. It’s contributing to the culture. It’s not just giving a message. It’s being relevant in culture. And that’s what advertising wants to do. That’s what brands want to do. That’s why we connect more to these personal projects. They’re a reaction to the world we live in.
Just because you’re at an agency doesn’t mean that your book has to be full of clients you’ve worked on. I love to see books come through that have personal projects and side gigs as well. A good buddy of ours and incredibly talented art director, Steve Yee, has Christmas cards on his website that he makes every year. And just today, he (and I think a friend of his) launched the website palinaspresident.com. It launched at 10am and by 4:00pm had 36,000 hits. Pretty impressive, and just another way Steve shows his talents.
[UPDATE: I chatted with Steve, and wanted to give credit to the other two guys he worked with: Sean Ohlenkamp and Forrest Boleyn. Steve said he and Forrest had the idea, then approached Sean who brought it to life. As of the morning of 10/15, it has over a half million hits.]