My Education: BFA, Graphic Design, Massachusetts College of Art (Boston, MA)
My Prior Experience: I have always been interested in art and sought out a college major that would prepare me for a career.
My Company: Healthcare advertising company
Job/Career Overview: A typical day for a graphic designer or art director involves attending input meetings where the account executives explain what the client or customer is looking for and then developing ideas to address the advertising assignment. This creative activity involves writing headlines, drawing as many ideas as possible and finally preparing materials on a computer using QuarkXpress, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and/or Dreamweaver. An initial presentation to the client usually results in adjustments and alterations. The art director and copywriter work together to address the client's comments and improve the creative product. Typical assignments include logo design, ads for magazines, brochures, web pages, web banners and email advertising.
A career in advertising can be challenging because the best solutions to creative assignments are something that hasn't been done before or at least different enough to differentiate the client (or their product) from the competition. A good designer or art director is always pushing himself to deliver innovation, creative thinking and the highest degree of craftsmanship.
I rate this career 9 out of 10.
One of my favorite activities is directing photo shoots. Working with photographers to capture an image that communicates the desired message and is attention-getting. Choosing and working with photographers and illustrators can be very enjoyable, particularly when they make your ideas look wonderful.
My least favorite thing to do is designing books or catalogs. When working on books or anything with a large number of pages the alterations or corrections always take a long time. When there is a lot of information involved making sure everything is correct can be laborious.
1. Learn to think on paper. It is easier to develop more ideas with pencil and paper than on a computer. Ideas developed on a computer tend to look "computerized" and not as appealing.
2. Learn to use computers and relevant software. Once you've developed an idea in a sketch, the computer is used to execute the final product. Most advertising is produced for both print and online venues.
3. Stay stimulated. Turn off the computer and the TV. Go to museums, live performances, read, draw and paint. Good ideas can come from anywhere, but the deeper your reservoir of ideas the more successful you'll be.