Tuesday, July 31, 2007

History + Typography, advertising's silent killer.

There are only really two types of typo. Good and absolutely terrible. You probably know what I'm talking about. The kind where you flip through and it hurts your eyes and stomach. It's a hard thing to explain, why its so good or bad. It just is.

As a graphic designer, I spent months in classes regarding typography: History, digital practice, classical print. I thought I had it down. I figured creating good typography was a skill I had mastered. Oh how little I know. After reviewing the website sent to me for my Visual Concepts class, I realized I might know good and bad by sight, but forgot the why. Check the site here.

My first assignment came last week for my Visual Concepts and Execution class. Basically it has two parts:

1. Redesign a current ad you don't like
2. Learn the history of advertising so you don't repeat it.


Repetititititition is the fastest gateway to unemployment in advertising. You will be shunned be the creative community, and have to settle to work in daytime television, where stealing is mandatory.

Many firms are now checking to see how your history of advertising is. This link from Creativity magazine (formerly adcritic.com) shows a advertising history crossword puzzle given to junior creative hiring packets at Lunar BBDO. The first two that completed it got jobs.

Take a look, I didn't know one. In two years I hope I will at least know a few.

Monday, July 30, 2007

How much lazier can the world get?

Sure everyone has dreamed of a motorized bike, wait we already have them, they're called cars. Whoops. And seriously where do you live where you need an electric bike, San Francisco is my only excuse for one. Or morbid obese city USA.

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green.......(but its getting better)

Poor frog.

You've been telling us since I was born that it's not easy being green. And only now were starting to listen. For years the government and industry has told us green is expensive, and will hurt american competitiveness, and jobs. And for years we believed it. But in the last few years things have started to change as companies realize that green is green (as in $).

Get ready Kermit. That lily pad is about to get crowded.

While there are lots of examples of small green companies, only now do you see large companies starting to at least try to look green:



Companies not only need to be begin to go green because of the environment. It will also be the standard for consumers. We will one day demand it. So some might say that these ads are just show-pieces to gain market share or change an image, (which is probably true, when i think GE and Pacific Gas and Electric, I don't think green) but instead I think they've have started the advertising green revolution.

So addies. Get ready to write on recycled paper, drink coffee brewed in tap water, and long nights in studios under energy efficent bulbs, dreaming of how to make clients look green because its coming.

Hold on dear friend Kermit. We're almost there.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Class list posted: Early Review 1st semester

So I got my class list from VCU Adcenter and I would like to share what they have given me as an art director in my first semester. I will not reveal Professor's names but simply what I think might be behind the classes, as not to ruin it for everyone behind me.

1. Technology

Simple. Hopefully it will be learning the Holy Trinity (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign) more than I possibly have tripped over learning them already. Since as an Art Director I will be the blunt force behind visual content I should know this like I know how to prepare Ramen noodles. Guilty as Charged.

2. Visual Concepts & Execution

Damn. Again a self explanitory example of a class. I have always had problems with visual solutions (ie no text). As a graphic designer it was crucial to have text so I predict a lot of time spent staring at blank pages of books for this one.

3. Visual Storytelling

Again with the literal translation. I wish there was some mystery behind these classes. Something like: Hey maybe you'll fail this 101. Or Angry man yells at you and devalues your abilities. But still alot of these classes seem like a straight path, but are probably not.

4. Business of Advertising

This is pure VCU. They understand that advertising is a business in the end. I was thumbing through a CMYK magazine to just see what I would have to compete against. In the first 10 pages were ads from the the top ad schools. Each had full bleed pages showing student work, or why their program was better because of time taken or production value.

Then I came to VCU's ad. It had quotes from advertising firm heads describing why VCU students are better. Most had a common theme: They have great ideas, and KNOW THE BUSINESS. This is the reason I chose VCU. I know I can produce great work. I want to know the business.

5. Creative Thinking

This is the Wild Card. I have no shame saying this is taught by the legendary Mark Fenske. You've seen his work for the last umpteen million years (if you see this mark, i greatly exaggerate). There are horror and glory stories from this class. It changes every year. I have no idea what to expect. I hope I survive.

Wish me luck, this was the first realization that I've started. Minus the student loans of course.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The simple message of: _ _ gg _ _.

Came across this off of Ernie Schenck's blog. Simple is sometimes the best way to get a message across.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Vitamin Water, thanks for the message.

Its a good feeling to come home to a beeping phone displaying: New Messages. You feel the love. People take the time to call you, see how you're doing, to hang out, or just say hello. I love having phone messages.

That all changed today as I dialed into my mailbox today. What transpires is an approx. of what I heard:

Phone: "You have one new message."

Voice: "Wat up dis is fitty cent."

Me: "No way......Does he want to hang out, get some weight lifting tips, share a bullet proof vest?"

50: "I know when I get tired, I needs to recharge my battrys."

Me: "Ok.... I understand life can be tough, everyone gets tired. How can I help fifty?"

50: "Thats when I reach for Vitamin Water. Its got all da best stuff to keep you going. G...G...G...G...Goodbye!"

Me: "...................."Bye?"........ *click*

What happened 50? You let me down. I thought we were going to be friends, hang out, life some weights, write some sick radical lyrics for your dope new jam, but instead you call to tell me that you have a new Vitamin Water flavor. Poor form Mr. Cent.

Samuel L Jackson once called me at 9 am on a sunday to tell me that I should take my "broke ass down on the bus to go see Snakes on a Plane." I went, hated the movie, but love the message I got. I still laugh about it.

So 50, I know you gots to get paid, those bullet proof vest dont come cheap, but please think up some better lines to get me to buy your crap. Click.......

14 days until life begins.

The tension is palpable. I have 14 days until I leave for Virginia and VCU. I have tried to stay calm and organized but, I'm excited. So I thought I would recap what it has been like to move cross country with little money and no idea how to do it.

1. Moving is more stressful than anything.
2. Fed Ex will move anything for 58 bucks as long as its under 150 lbs.
3. Flying to Richmond is cheap, but rental cars are not.
4. Giving away a lifetimes collection of things was harder than I thought it would be.
5. Checking the temperature in Richmond in July makes me pray for working AC.
6. Telling people you're moving to Richmond only results in stunned responses of: "Why?"
7. Do I really need all these clothes?

Besides that this process has been one of blind faith.

I have good roommates, who I have never met, seen or physically spoken to, but have found an apartment with them. I've "met" a majority of the people in the program through Facebook, which makes me wonder how people lived before Craigslist and Facebook.

Im ready. See you in Richmond!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Columbus had it easy, he got to come back afterwards

6:27 am.

Not the best time to wake up on a saturday morning after too many beers from a bar shaped like a overturned pirate ship.

But none the less im up.

I pulled back the curtain on my one window to the view of a San Francisco summer morning:

We locals like to call it tourist weather, because only tourists are stupid enough to wear shorts in the summer in San francisco. Mark Twain should have opened a sweater shop here, and wrote on the side. But I digress.

I love it here.
I have great friends here.
I grew up here.
My life is here.

The last year has been the best of my young life. I have everything i need, and want. And that's why i'm leaving.

As a Bowen I know that deep within my genes lies the wander chromosome. The feeling that when everything is right, it's time to go, and start over. To repress every feeling of security and stability in favor of a change in landscape, and new surroundings. So east i go.

I know not a soul, street, or sky in Richmond, but i go none the less.

I am scared though. Not about going back to school or meeting new people, or trying to remember how you are supposed to be a student. Im scared that I wont be back.

Ancient explorers set out for the glory of God and King, I hope i'm leaving for the right reasons.

At least Columbus got to come home.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hooray BBDO/NYC!

This is my favorite recent commercial. Short sweet and entertaining. This is the way ads should be: ENTERTAINING!! And at only 14 seconds its not painful to sit through.

I love this brand of advertising. Chiat/Day has been doing these for years with Skittles and Starburst (I'm a little lad who likes berries and cream!), and they are amazing. Im happy to see other firms starting to produce work that makes me slow down my TIVO! Hooray good advertising.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Expectations of Adcenter and Myself

I want to spend a little time writing about what I expect out of the program and myself as a good before and after review to see how my goals and expectations stack up to the end results. Hopefully the actual results will far exceed my initial ideas, however after my research into ad schools 99% of the schools is what you put in, which is probably 99% true.

1. This program will help me find talents I did not know I had as a creative.
2. Teachers will be extremely competent, seasoned professionals in the ad world.
3. Mark Fenske will not be as scary as he is said to be. (crossed fingers)
4. My fellow students will be extremely talented and the best the school could have chosen.
5. I will be impossible not to hire after my two years at Adcenter.
6. My ability to crunch long nights on little sleep will grow.
7. I will be broke, but extremely happy to be so.
8. My network of contacts will be enviable to anyone in the ad industry.
9. I will be a better professional, ready to start my chosen career.
10. In my rare moments of freedom, I will relearn the joy of sleeping in.

A simple top ten list. I will revisit this list in two years and report back the results. Hopefully I am not the only one with these goals and fears about moving across the country for good.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

VCU Adcenter here I come!

I have had my admissions letter from VCU for a couple of months now but only now has it sunk in that im heading east for good. I took some classes here in San Francisco about art direction and loved them. One of my teachers turned me onto Adcenter, so I rushed to put together a packet, and after a tense wait I got in thankfully!

Adcenter is considered the best program in the country. Less classic student-teacher setup. Instead they strive to put students into real world work situations, pairing up an art director with a copywriter, media planner etc. Along with this their students success rate was pretty hard to ignore as well. Link to their site: Adcenter

Adcenter was not the only program I looked into. I also checked out Miami Ad School, Creative Circus, Chicago Portfolio School and Pasadena Art School. They all have their positives from international interships at Miami, quicker more intense programs at Circus, and an overall amazing program at Pasadena. However it came down to the fact that VCU felt like the fit for me.If you are looking into further education in this field, take a look at all the schools. They all have a different feel and offer very different paths.

The one thing I heard from everyone regarding ad schools is that in the end it doesn't really matter where you go, it only matters how hard you work, make good connections, and walk out with an amazing book.