Today we had the pleasure of having Lee Fairbrother come in to talk to us for this weeks afterlife session. Lee is the creative director at Accelerate, which is a digital agency based in Hammersmith, London.
As part of his talk, Lee gave us 25 tips which he though may be useful to us.
- Make a plan.
What do you want to do?
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson
However also be wary of the fact that plans can change also, so you should learn to move with your plans.
- Your portfolio is your life story.
Your portfolio needs to be new, exciting, and have your personality all about it.
Tony Cullingham says that portfolios should:
Show craft skills, writing, design, art direction and photoshop skills
Show ads, games and business ideas
Show a surprise on every page
Show that you are an enriched person who takes an interest in culture, creativity and humanity.
It should say “You’ve got to meet me”
- Know the industry
Their are lots of different types of agencies in the industry, however the big four are: Advertising, Brand, Digital, Print.
Research the agencies, research the different types of roles, know their accounts and their work, know their creative directors, know who is winning the awards.
- Never stop learning
Read everything, do tutorials, watch videos, go to meet ups, store your knowledge, share your knowledge.
- Understand the difference between idea and execution
An idea is better described as the strategic driven concept in answer to a given brief. The execution is the creative output of the said concept (the ad/design/film/etc). You can’t have on without the other – if you do it’ll usually be rubbish.
Always have a strategy and create with purpose.
- Focus on the benefit
How is it going to change the end users life? Visually communicate that point as simply as possible.
What is the purpose? What is the point?
- Never under estimate the power of simplicity
- Scamping/Sketching = Strength – Attachment
Through sketching you lose any attachment you have to specific ideas.
- Pretotype then prototype then build
Pretotype: The art and science of faking it before making it. Where it refers to an innovative product or service. Fake door: put advert on internet, counted how many click that ad got. Mechanical turk: using a human to prove a product works. Impersonator: Elon Muss, taking a current product and editing it and using it as your own. Pinocchio: Creating the most creative version that proves it works, and then talking to people about it. One night stand: Stand that pops up for a day. MVP: Minimum viable product.
- Good is the enemy of great
Too many people in the industry settle for great. Good is just a step away from average, you need to push to get to great and award winning.
- Build a network + meet other creatives.
Go to meet ups
Ask creative/design directors for their advice
You can speed date – creatives
Stay in touch with the people around you
- Find your mentor – today.
They can offer your guidance.
Who? Depends on what you want to do.
Know when its not working.
What do mentors get out of it? Creating a contact, tapping into the future mentees network.
If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
- Get yourself out there.
Brand yourself but remember taste and trend.
You need a website – a great website. Squarespace as a recommendation.
Get your foot in the door. There is no such thing as originality but you have to find the closest thing too it.
- When you find a job, make the role your own.
Ask yourself honestly, do you want a job or a career?
Push the boundaries of what is asked of you.
Ask questions – lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions.
Expect to hear no.
Don’t be afraid of anyone, they’re just people.
Hard work doesn’t often go unnoticed.
- Your biggest asset is your team around you
Create thinking environments with purpose. An environment where everybody is able to feel comfortable coming up with new ideas, no stupid ideas.
Change the scenery.
Consider every idea.
Never make fun of anyone who has an idea.
Make notes/scamp/save all that thinking. Wait for them to finish.
- Present better than Don Draper
You also work in sales. A great commercial creative is also a great client manager.
Practise both selling and public speaking.
- Be resilient.
Stay strong – Karma is a bitch.
- Radical Candour.
Giving feedback to a person you know well enough to be honest with, and about understanding that feedback.
Don’t take feedback personally.
- Choose when to take advice and when to leave it.
Listen to advice – decide which parts of valuable and leave the rest behind.
- You should get paid in more than money.
Knowledge, accounts, team, leaders, opportunities.
Understand what else there is to offer.. Equity/shares/promotion/bonuses.
Don’t sell yourself short.
- Know when it’s time to move on.
Don’t hang around waiting for things to get better, they usually don’t.
“This is your life and its ending one minute at a time” – Chuck Palahniuk/Author fight club
- Procrastination will kill you.
Take it head on. Know what your vices are and avoid them. Find a new environment. Get started. Ask for feedback on whatever it is you’re doing – good or bad, it will keep you going.
- No matter where your career takes you, don’t become a dick.
Theres a lot in the industry. Break the cycle.
- Work hard + Be nice + be on time = success.
People remember and with every project you work on you’ll leave more than just great work.
- Love it
A designer solves problems by problems by blending art, science, math, psychology, and many other disciplines to create something for the world to use.
Lee also talked to use about how we can price ourselves when doing freelance work. He said to look online and see what other junior designers offer. Don’t price yourself against a agency though.
Good is the enemy of great – blog.
Lee’s talk was extremely useful and full of invaluable tips which I will definitely be referring back to in the future and also taking note of, and working on now. I feel extremely lucky that we got to have a talk from such an inspiring person and it made me feel extremely motivated for the future.