What should I put into my portfolio?
What order should it been in?
How many pieces should I have in my portfolio?
I'm a Art Director, does the copy matter?
Should it be about ideas, or is the execution more important?
If I got a nickle for every time I am asked these questions I could blog full-time, sip on 1981 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon and smoke Fuente Opus X Robustos. All of these questions are standard issues, standard concerns and the standard of every young future AdLander.
But as often as I offer my answers, trusted answers based on my years of reviewing books and making my frequent trips to agency Creative Directors to ask "What should my students have in their portfolios?" I get a different response everytime. Whether its how many pieces, size, quality, types of work to include, Print vs. Out of Home, Broadcast YES or broadcast NO, interactive... you get the deal.
NOT once have I got the same answer let alone even get the same recommendations. Simply more questions.
So every year as I set my young AdLanders into gear on building their portfolios I start with one difficult to understand standard line:
"EVERYONE THINKS THEY KNOW WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR PORTFOLIO"Recently, Alex Bogusky launched a weekly webcast called Fearless Q&A. Part Crispin Porter +Bogusky "news and views", part "self-promotion" but mostly very informational and very, very entertaining. Alex may have another career ahead of him. This past week (November 12th, 2009) Fearless Q&A turned its attention to the portfolio. Alex invited CP+B VP Creative Director Tiffany Kosel to share the stage and more important her thoughts on what makes for a good portfolio.
Tiffany Kosel has won awards at nearly every show out there, from Clios to Cannes Lions. She has worked on campaigns for BMW Mini, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Volkswagen, Burger King, Victoria's Secret, Jawbone and the "Truth" anti-tobacco effort, among others. After being promoted to VP Creative Director in 2008 she is the sole female among eight creative directors at the agencyand directs up to 30 people on Old Navy, estimated to be worth a cool $200 million account for CP+B which she also led in the pitch. In June, Advertising Age named her as one of the "Women to Follow" in 2009.
The Fearless Q&A webcast offered some excellent insights and look into what Tiffany herself did to land the gig at CB+P. They both answered more questions then expected, and seeing this episode received more questions the any other episode to date. I can proudly say that my students bombarded the Twitter feed (follow my students on Twitter) in advance and several of my talented creatives submitted portfolios for review.
It was an excellent hour of conversation, the beauty of Twitter and the Justin.Tv it allows for a two-way conversation, live questions as the show goes on. Alex and Tiffany did there best not to just answer questions, but to show some samples of "what makes a idea great". I was proud that one of my students Ryan Dzur get his book shown and mentioned near the end, sadly they never got to give any feedback... the show was over too soon.
One of the questions submitted by my students was need for a portfolio if you are going into account management or strategic planning. I have crafted a unique approach to this type of portfolio over the years and I wasn't surprise that both Alex and Tiffany agree it is more and more important as "creative" is needed in all areas of business. Suits and Planners need to bring more to the table then ever before.
Highlights of the conversation... the basics:
- Show your skill and show you craftBut once it was all over (and too soon I might add), there are still a million questions... but really it's all about "Big Ideas" and "Selling Yourself".
- Be unique, show you can think, find the difference (the Graham Crackers is an example)
- Interactive and ambient are critical, show that you know what is fresh and connects
- Make sure what you have are "Big Ideas" not just one offs
- It really doesn't matter if it's a $10 book or a $200 case... it's the work that matters
- Show who you are, it can be more then just your advertising ideas
Watch Alex Bogusky and Tiffany Kosel on FearlessQ&A Episode "tifko"