Thoughts for design and ad students


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This was a recent AIGA keynote to advertising and design students at a "Mentor Match Up." The focus? Things I’ve learned — or learned to believe — that I would have liked to hear when I was entering the business It’s always fun to get up in front of people and be opinionated. - Mark Conachan, Creative Director of Saturday Brand Communications

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Thoughts for design and ad students

  1. 1. AIGA Student/Mentor Match Up:11 things design and advertisingstudents should keep in mindabout the business of creativityMark Conachan, VP, Creative DirectorSaturday Brand Communications#mentormatchup
  2. 2. OneDon’t niche yourself. Don’tspecialize yet. Your precon-ceptionsabout yourself maylimit you. Assume you can doanything until you proveyourself otherwise.
  3. 3. TwoBring more than designawareness to the table.Culture, history, politics, etc;remember to communicateabout life through design,not design through design.
  4. 4. ThreeYou are a start up in the JobGetting business. Do basics:biz cards, Linked in, elevatorpitch, etc. Turn late nites andshoestring budgets into rawcreative brilliance. Musicand beer are cheap muses.
  5. 5. FourBe a “graphic messenger,”instead of a graphic designer.Color, photos, type, media:everything is a message thatinfluences the brand. Thinkabout your visual dialoguewith your audience.
  6. 6. FivePeople are irrational. Theyaren’t robots. Consumers useemotion over logic. This iswhy design, branding andkick-ass headlines are soimportant. (MBAs, now theymight be ’bots.)
  7. 7. SixCreativity needs time andmomentum. First ideas areoften not worth doing.Revisit, rethink, redraw.Require necessary time.White sheets and screensare beautiful tools.
  8. 8. SevenCritique assumptions increative briefs about mediaand tactics. Alternatecreative opportunities existto deliver messages, push abrand. Explore the custom-er journey for ideas.
  9. 9. EightIt’s you vs. tech. Tools aremaking us lazy, desensitizingour natural instincts forspacing, alignment, kerning,color, everything. Stoprelying on automation somuch. Use the force, Luke.
  10. 10. NineFailure is the bar forcreative excellence, notsuccess. Easily approvedwork doesn’t challenge usor the client to greaterheights. For the audience,safe is ignorable.
  11. 11. TenBeware agencies thatpoo-poo awards: Theyforgot or never knew thevalue, power of the creativepart of our business, sadly.
  12. 12. Eleven“Everybody’s creative.”There are no bad ideas.”Statements like thesediminish our education,skills, process, profession.Collaborate, yes, but alwaysprotect your expertise.
  13. 13. Saturday is a consumer-focused, media-neutral, fun-centric, creatively-ambidextrousbrand communications agency.We like to put business and pleasure in theCuisinart and push 10.We believe in branding through humor, socialexperiences, valuable information, greatdesign or cool technology.We don’t know what we want to be when wegrow up. And we like it that way.
  14. 14. Thank You