• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Signature page
 My story
 The critique of my work
 Putting together your book
 Index
 Back Cover
 Copyright














Title: Create a knock-out advertising portfolio (without setting foot in portfolio school)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094002/00001
 Material Information
Title: Create a knock-out advertising portfolio (without setting foot in portfolio school)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Regateiro, Renee Yarrington
Publisher: College of Journalism & Communications, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Copyright Date: 2000
 Notes
General Note: Mass Communication terminal project
General Note: Project in lieu of thesis
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094002
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Signature page
        Unnumbered ( 2 )
    My story
        Page 1
        Page 2
    The critique of my work
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Putting together your book
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Index
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Back Cover
        Page 32
    Copyright
        Page 33
Full Text




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I certify that I have reviewed this project and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a project in
lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication.


0 ~Elaine Wagner Chair
S Professor of Journalism and Co munications

CS I certify that I have reviewed this project and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a project in
lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication.



ofessor of Journalism and Communications

I certify that I have reviewed this project and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarl presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a project in
> lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication.


e0 David Ostroff
Professor of Journalism and Communications

This project was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Journalism and
Communications and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication.
December 2000


Marilrnobertsr
Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
College of Journalism and Communications


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If you're putting your book together to get a job in
advertising, you should pay attention to my story.
When I was in college, I studied advertising. I kept hearing,
"it will be almost impossible to find a job as an art director
straight out of school." But a little voice in my head kept say-
ing that I'd be different. Other people had to work
hard and fret about finding a job. But I would-
n't. After all, things came easy for me.
Par On p ofmthI was young and intelligent.
... C t w creative and expressive. Funny
and outgoing. I was the kind
.s.e pom e b .y d .e iof person who always
.httoesaoed* e -s**a**m* *b*brought a lot of concepts
*u *k -rmo e tco tdsnto portfolio class, and my
r T ( 5ot .okIl .e teachers and classmates
usually loved my work.
tk toep yiafcs.TeIdI was an "A" student.
.l e t i eAt one time, I consid-
..o y.lu.hbo aatothlered going to portfolio
*t e y t c school. I even visited some
hot Atlanta schools where
L students produced dazzling ads.
I applied and was accepted.
During a visit, I could feel creativity in the
air. They praised my work and welcomed me with open
arms. I knew it would be a wonderful environment in which to
sharpen my concept and execution skills.


But after I left that day, I realized that portfolio school is a
big investment of time and money. They discourage students
from holding even a part-time job, and I wasn't sure it would be
the right fit for me.
So, I decided not to go.
I committed myself to putting the best book together that
I could. When I saw all my work together, I thought it was
great. Everybody at school thought it was great. And it got
me a job as a designer-even though I had no other on-the-job
experience.
But designing logos and newsletters wasn't what I wanted
to do. I wanted to be an art director. So a year later, I went to
graduate school. That's when I created my next portfolio. My
on-the-job experience helped. It gave my book additional
polish to create a "real advertising book."
I tested my work-not on my parents and friends, but on real
creative with real advertising jobs. I looked for people who
would give me the honest skinny on the very best of my
advertising work.
I did some of the work in a portfolio class, and I did some
for freelance clients. In fact, I won seven local student Addy
awards that year.
The moral to my story is that you don't have to go to portfolio
school but you do have to work just as hard and put together
a great book.
So, if that's what you want to do, read on.


My store


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PART ONE:
The CritiLque of My Work


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WffHO SAID WHAT?
In the following Critique, you'll
notice that reviewers' names hve
been removed. Instead, you'll see
the following set of symbols,
which allow you to follow who
said what. Greater detail can be
found in the Index of this book.
Copywriter
o Copywriter
V Cruio D_|iretor,
*,, .,,- :_. .0 Art Dr or.
: ::?; Art'. Pir. oc ior" :: ..
..opwre




MY MESSAGE
STATEMENT:
The Cayman
Islands offer the
best diving in the
world. They're
unlike any other
place -
unspoiled and
peaceful.


S


Ad Copy, Leftto Rght
Ad #1: Swim like a fish... through the clear blue water.
Discover coral reefs and dance with the stingrays.
The ocean ebbs and flows, your heart beats steady
only in the Cayman Islands.
Ad #2: Swim like a fish... through the dear blue water.
Discover coral reefs and dance with the stingrays.
The ocean ebbs and flows, your heart beats steady
only in the Cayman Islands.
Ad #3: Pretend like a child... Say you'll never go home.
Never leave this natural stage of beach and back-
drop of blue. Let your memory capture the sounds
of Caymanian laughter, the way the Caribbean
breeze rejuvenates only in the Cayman Islands.


der;and "uiqe sl pos :

I learned about my Cymankisland ads
- and one of the most lporl*O ao-

"The Coymon stuff4 while beeAlt4,
looai a lot like other tourist things (yo)
might see. It's sort of an expected dre
tion to take. dThe writing does th o but
It does t blow de a way It twWta
me without puling a new Ni st
Use the 'feerl of the art 4lrecton tougb

friendly place to visit. Bit art drection II

swa nike isndwt exc de
*at ea? V0Idaif I tsB ,
M "Asfor as makma thee ad mbete


Y: "Well, the walls of coral there

Cayman Trench, which Is like toot
thousands of 6$et deep. S. you're M

so blue and beautiful. And quiet,'
r"ThasorI

@ "Youve tapped into the emotion.
You ve shown me what's different. Btd
you hve to find fresh Interesting ways
of saying It. According to an account
planner here, 'Don't standard
Issue travel copy G; mw inigst



ing? And what at tie other details? *:
. .-..N$concept?"
@ .'YBIFCCW t th -" d -iv -. Don' I "

tad roi.on~ d aL FoassFoa& Fo01


Positive Reviews
Design:
V "The layout is very tasteful and well-done."
I "Love the use of bright colors and photography on the white
space. Makes images pop."
% "Love the headline type. Whimsical, happy. (aught my
attention. Layout is good. Rule ties everything together."
o "Nicely art directed campaign, although it feels very sim-
ilar to the N(L campaign from a few years ago. The art direction
does enhance the idea nicely. It gives the feel of tranquility and
peace, and a sense of space and solitude that you are tapping
into with the idea. Finally, design. Nicely done."
*:* "I like the design, negative space and the use of image."
Copy:
I "Headlines are interesting and thought provoking. I love
the feel of the copy... mystical, adventurous, tropical, and very
imaginative...the way most people think the islands are like. But
then again, maybe I'm just wishing I were laying on a beach
somewhere in the Caymans."
+* "I like the copy, and by extension the underlying
approach. It gives a sense of escaping not only your surround-
ings but also your life, to an extent, and yourself. And, although
regrettable, that's pretty attractive in our society. A large draw
of these types of islands is the "today or tomorrow, whenever"
attitude they project."


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The "NCL ook"


accolades that the NCL campaign received, I believe many peo-
ple will also see this that way. The execution is nice... Finally,
design. Nicely done. But as I said before, too much borrowed
interest from NCL."
*. "I think that the text should form a somewhat stronger
path. The strongest, in terms of this, is the "Swim Like a Fish"
ad. The "pirate" ad does have this flow, but it is broken by the
deviant. I would say that the images don't completely support
the text. The "swim like a fish" does... the pirate is a little iffy.
I know that the images are not literal. However, the "pirate" ad's
imagery should have some allusion to the activities, even though
they would be (of course) in a quite different context than the
text would suggest... Actually, given this, I think the "pirate" ad
is the strongest."
Copy:
V "The copy is dull and familiar. It is exactly what I would
expect for that sort of account. It needs to be more surprising,
original, unexpected if you want to stop people."
"'The voice assumes it knows the consumer, which many
consumers find offensive. I would kill that one."
% "Copy falls short misses the opportunity to tie in
with the images. The woman in the hammock isn't hunting for
anything. Why not play off the fact: Act like a pirate... or not?
The turtle is the best. Fish is kind of cliche."
O "I am also struggling to see what point of difference you
are trying to make that the Cayman Islands are a unique desti-
nation. It seems to me that many of the places in the Caribbean


I


Negative ReVtews
Design:
I "Use of white space is fine... Not sure if the images fea-
tured are compelling enough or are tightly linked to the message
(e.g. "Swim like a fish works... but I'm not sure if the others
do.... "Pretend like a child" with a turtle and "Act like a
pirate" -with a woman lying on the beach. It might be better
to fill the space with images that will compel folks like me (who
now live in the cold) to come to the Caymans. I'm not sure if the
editorial layout is working for me. It feels fragmented... doesn't
read well...doesn't add visually to the overall ad... Becomes
more of a design element rather then an important message
that should be read or considered..
"Overall concerns/questions: Who is your target market? If
it's older people...who usually have the time and money to go on
vacations...the copy size may be too small for them to read. If
families...the images and copy should show more family/kid
activities. Where will this be featured? If in a magazine and if
it's a double-spread, you'll hove concerns about images and
words getting lost in the stapled pages. If on bulletin boards or
on sides of buses, the copy will be too small and too long to
read quickly."
(0 "'Act like a Pirate' art direction is nice, but very expected."
O "... it feels very similar to the NCL campaign from a few
years ago. Not only does it have a very similar look, but the tone
of the campaign is also very similar. Because of the tremendous


have the same type of experience you are tapping into. This
seems to be more of a problem with the strategy. But as an art
director you need to be able to recognize fundamental strategy
problems and work to change them. Try to find a unique point
of view the Cayman Islands have that no other place can offer.
Then you will have the ammunition to create something fresh...
The use of the ellipses is completely unnecessary. They are so
overused and in almost every case unnecessary. They also hap-
pen to be quite taboo and viewed at least in my eyes as poor
design. Have you ever seen a great ad that used ellipses? I
can't think of one. If they were used to mock the use of
ellipses, then maybe it would work."


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MY MESSAGE
STATEMENT:
Unlinke regular
boring pasta,
Pasta Barilla is
romantic, exciting,
and for
goumet meals.











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Copy, Ad #1: Spontaneous. Boll water. Add
salt. Magnifico. Classic Spaghetti, compliments of
Pasta Barilla. Serve with fresh tomato sauce and
parmesan cheese. Or enjoy any way you like the
western Is optional. However you enjoy pasta,
there's never a dull moment


Copy, Ad #2: Spontaneous. Boll water. Add Copy, Ad #3: Spontaneous. Boll water. Add
salt Amore. Classic Spaghetti, compliments of salt. Presto. Classic Spaghetti, compliments of
Pasta Badlla. Serve with aromatic garlic and olive Pasta Barilla. Serve with homemade sauce and
oil. Or enjoy any way you like the wine is option- fresh basil. Or enjoy any way you like the spoons
al. However you enjoy pasta, there's never a dull are optional. However you enjoy pasta, there's
moment. never a dull moment.


Positive ReV /ews
Design:
I "I love the layout and look of these ads. I think the
copy positioning is great, and background copy adds a nice
touch and depth to the space."
o "The execution is nicely presented..."
Copy:
c "You have an idea. Some rewrite on this could make
it a good sample."


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course, because you cannot design everyone's company image.
You cannot always redesign it. Therefore, you need to demon-
strate the ability to be a stylistic 'chameleon.' Don't skimp on
the personal stuff. It shows you."

Copy:
I "I have some concerns that the message is misleading.
'Classic spaghetti compliments of Pasta Barilla' may imply
that you're getting it FREE! Imagine folks like me, (and I'm
ghetto enough to do it) walking into the place, with the ad
clinched in my hand, expecting a complimentary meal. It also
took me a while to get 'the western is optional' comment. I
had to read the others before I 'got' it. The other objects,
'spoons', 'wine', seemed more in place.
% "This might be the Californian in me, but salt is 'bad.'
And water takes FOREVER to boil. So, it's not that spontaneous
to me. Blah. If I were seeing this in someone's book, I would
think: nice production skills, good type skills, needs training
on concepting which isn't a bad thing."
0 "My least favorite of your campaigns. This is not a
campaign to me. It is the same ad done three times. There is
no different idea or point of view expressed in the different
executions. I would completely re-evaluate this campaign.
Just because you change a picture and a few lines of copy
doesn't mean it deserves to be a campaign. Plus, as a cre-
ative piece, I find no redeeming value. I can't comment on
the way the art direction has helped the idea, because I
can't see the idea?"


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NegSatve IReVLews
Design:
I "Some general, overall concerns/questions: I know you
have limited resources for photography, but when you use
photographs of food you've got to make sure the food looks
irresistible. I'm not sure if you're photos accomplish this,
especially in the 'western is optional' ad."
% "If I were seeing this in someone's book, I would
think: nice production skills, good type skills, needs training
on concepting which isn't a bad thing. Where's the branding?
There's nothing tying me to the package on the shelf."
O "I can't comment on the way the art direction has
helped the idea, because I can't see the idea."
*+* "Although they are good, they are the weakest
overall... The concept works, in terms of text. The text layout
works, in terms of supporting the copy. The type does not
work in terms of supporting the image and background. I feel
it looks too slick, too script. To remain consistent with the rest
of the imagery, it would need to be a more 'Old World' type
design... A traditional Roman typeface, perhaps distressed, or
- if a form of script a form that looks more convincing-
ly like hand script... those are somewhat industrial maybe...
but with a different sensibility.
"Include a good percentage of your signature style, but
throw in enough that are different... Not just different, but
diametrically opposed. Radical departures. This shows flexi-
bility of style. Commercial artists need this vitally. This is, of





MY MESSAGE
STATEMENT:
It's the kind of
wedding gown a
woman waits her
whole life to
wear... for just
one day.


Positive ReNvews
Design:
% "Is there a background over this whole ad? Fabric or
something? ...It adds texture. Would be very nice use the fab-
ric from the dress you spotlight (you're the dressmaker, right?).
You could ghost the rule around the edge over the fabric."
0 "I like how the importance is put on one item: The
dress. It seems to be one thing that is the most important of
all the things needed for a wedding. The art direction also
supports (this) point. Smallest importance to biggest. This ad
is very nicely art directed. By far, conceptually the best. The
layout really brings forth the concept strongly, and in an
elegant way. You see, there is a concept with the art direction
here that is actually making the concept work better. Good
job. Design is very good."
*:* "The text is well supported by the imagery and the
layout. Also, I very much like that your negative space is not
blank, but rather a real-world texture, yet subtle. Real World
Texture: either not computer generated, or it doesn't look


computer generated. On the first ad, is there a background
image? From what I can tell, the images are either paper, or
some kind of white muslin. Which, of course, dovetails with
the wedding theme. If the first one has no actual fabric or
related wedding texture, I would put it in, as is consistent and
attractive. If the ad's look was on "error" of sorts, it was a
happy accident. I feel that the softer borders, somewhat
blended into the background, gave it a softer, old-world
feel that was quite attractive. Also, nice type choice."

Copy:
"Good, the concept is strong."
% "The third one is by far the best copy Four, three,
two, one. It really works. Reinforces 'one dress.'"
O "Overall concept is nice. I like how the importance is
put on one item: The dress. It seems to be one thing that is
the most important of all the things needed for a wedding.
*:* "I think the Wedding campaigns are actually the
strongest, concept-wise."


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Ad Copy, Left to Right
Ad #1: You'll only wear it for ONE DAY.
100 guests. 4-tiered cake. 30 fiends waiting to catch the
bouquet. One dress. You won't know until you try It on.
Ad #2: You'll only wear it for ONE DAY.
2 precious carats. 50 of your favorite songs. 75 flower
arrangements. One dress. You won't know until you try it on.
Ad #3: You'll only wear it for ONE DAY.
Four-tiered cake. Three kinds of roses. Two adorable flower
girls. One dress. You won't know until you try it on.


Neg atix/e R.'Aews
Design:
( "You could actually lose the smaller visuals, as they
are not necessary."
I "I think highlighting 'You'll only wear it for ONE DAY' is
a pretty negative message when you consider how expensive
a darn wedding dress can be. (I'm still not over how much I
paid for mine.) I'm not sure if the use of white space is as
effective here, and I don't think it's holding the images
together. I keep wanting to see some kind of texture in the
background or more design and elegance maybe a back-
ground silhouette of the dress fabric. Or, a close-up photo
of the delicate beading or textures in the dress.
"Overall concerns/questions: Once again, where will this
ad be featured? If in a magazine, you'll have concerns about
images and words missing in a double spread."
0 "Design is very good, except one thing. Type choice.
Don't like it. I think it takes the idea down a notch (from what
I can see). I would definitely re-evaluate the type choice."


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Copy:
V "The copy needs work. I question the relevance of
the numbers-theme. Four tiers, fifty guests...so? I think
there is something relevant somewhere in the idea that this
is a dress you will only wear once (hopefully), but you can
do more with it."
O "You might want to use a more fluid order. For
instance on the first ad maybe the pictures go from 100
guests, 30 friends, 4-tiered cake, one dress. Do you see how
I'm giving the item with the biggest numerical value (100)
the least importance and the thing with the smallest
numerical value (1 dress) the most? This seems to carry
the idea further. The fact that one thing (of all the things
involved in a wedding, can be the most important)."
I "Overall I think you've got some problems with this
campaign. To be honest, I think most people won't give you
the time of day to decode this message. As I read it, I kept
thinking to myself, 'this sounds really familiar.' Then it hit
me...the Master Cord ads...You know the ones...'Wedding
Ring $2,000...Dress $4,000.... Bond... $1,500... Look on her
face when she said I do. Priceless.'"


m _--




MY MESSAGE
STATEMENT:
This is a magazine
you can take
anywhere. It's not
a coffee-table
book that you can
look at but not
touch. One
Magazine is a
tool. It was
designed for you
to use it.


Ad Copy, Left to Right
Ad #1: Copy: cocktail dress. blue jeans.
Sometimes you study the classics. Sometimes you spend time
with ONE.
one.a magazine for creative minds.
Ad #2: Copy: Beethoven's Ninth. Stairway to Heaven.
Sometimes you study the classics. Sometimes you spend time
with ONE.
one.a magazine for creative minds.
Ad #3:Copy: The Metropolitan Museum. Chalk drawings at the park.
Sometimes you study the classics. Sometimes you spend time
with ONE.
one.a magazine for creative minds.


Positive Reviews
Design:
V "...the craft and design are, again, excellent."
0 "Good design."


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Negative Revtews
Design:
V "The side-by-side layout with the visual analogies
seems a little familiar."

Copy:
V "The idea seems a bit muddled. The top visuals
seem to suggest that One Magazine is casual, the next line
suggests that One is a classic, the bottom line says that it
is a magazine for creative minds. I'd pick one of those
themes and stick with it."
I "Probably my least favorite of the ads. Okay, maybe
I'm not hip enough to 'get it.' I got it, but I didn't under-
stand it. I didn't make the connection between the editorial
and the images, so I tried reasoning with myself to see if
I'd get it... Okay, all the images on the left were of maga-
zines or books (I think) and they were old or considered


classics... BUT the images on the right were of a newer
and fresher magazine, with concepts and ideas outside the
norm. Okay, so now I'm getting it, but wait...I don't get the
copy under the images. What does a cocktail dress have to
do with a Communication Arts magazine? (A magazine I
prescribe to and thought was kind of hip.) And so on and
so on...
"Then I realized something. I shouldn't have to work
this hard to get it. But then again, maybe I'm not the right
age, sex or person this magazine or ad is trying to reach or
target. Either way, I still don't get it.'"
0 "I'm having trouble grasping this concept. I want to
like it, but I'm not sure that I completely understand it. It's
hard for me to really comment on this campaign, because
I really don't get it. And I think that's a bad thing.
Sometimes simple is good, if it helps the concept. I can't
tell you because I don't know what the concept is."


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MY MESSAGE
STATEMENT:
This is a cover
letter and resume
that's literally
"outside the box."













C3









Ao


CmefitenrCopy
Dear Sr/Madam:
You're looking for fresh ideas. A fresh attitude.
Someone dedicated to building create solu-
tions.
So just put ft all together. You'll find an IndMvkd-
ual whose Ideas really take shape.
Yes, you want someone whose ideas really
take shape. So ve me a call at 555.555.1234.
Sincerely,
Renee Yanington


PositiVe Re\/Aews
Design:
o "Love it. Love the cover letter, the resume box thing.
CLEVER. FUN. DIFFERENT! Now, I don't know how many of
these clever ideas an ad agency sees on a daily basis, but
I suspect that the folks here at (my company) would think
you were pretty darn clever... Definitely worthy of a portfolio
review."
4*: "Myriad Tilt right? I like it. Typography is your strong
suit. Anyway, it is good that you are into Typography. Every
year, the graduates of most art and design programs seem to
care less about it. It shows a lot of skill. In addition, it comes
off as somewhat loose and fun. And, as I said, if I were old
school (which I guess I kind of ended up being) it would be a
BIG plus that you chose to actually design your piece around
TYPOGRAPHY."


*fS @WA
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tude. Someone dedicated to building creative solutions.' By
saying this, you have just contradicted everything you are
saying, because there is nothing fresh nor creative about
that paragraph. I've heard that a thousand times. What
you want to do is show me that you can be fresh or cre-
ative, by what you are saying. Don't just tell me that. Write
a letter that is fresh and creative. Make it meaningful, give
me some type of insight into you or about you. Make me
laugh or feel something. Most of all, make me interested.
Do you find it more interesting that I just tell you I'm cre-
ative? Or that I tell you something that is creative? Every
paragraph in this piece is riddled with the some thing.
'...whose ideas really take shape.' '...think outside of the
box.' YUCK! Give this a lot of thought. Do a promotion piece
for yourself that is provocative, interesting and creative.
Don't just tell me that you are, show me."


0**- S* 0 -
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Negative reviews
Design:
V "The box, like everything else, is well crafted and
designed, but seems a little slow copy-wise. There are some
interesting ideas, but it could be more quick, to the point."

Copy:
V "The letter doesn't stand out. Sounds exactly like
most cover letters. I think you coan be more original. There
are some interesting ideas, but it could be more quick, to
the point."
0 "I think your cover letter blows. You are using every
cliche that inexperienced students in the field use. Sorry to
be so crass, but if this came across my desk, it would go
right into the trash. I would suggest taking a completely
different approach. 'Looking for fresh ideas. A fresh atti-


4

















Positive Reviews
0 "I'm glad you (are an) art director, because you're
handling of white space and type is really nice. You have a
nice, clean design sense, which many art directors lack."
V "Your design and art direction are strong. You seem
to have excellent design instincts and make good typo-
graphic and layout choices. Additionally,
the presentation of your work was
excellent. The interface (web
site) is intuitive, logical, and
W nhpsoe.m"."nnyou don't let technology
juivapet gv em oget in the way. I also
.w .s o Bs. t appreciate that you
mydesign.styl.T.y ..u.ocshow restraint in
. t-e- c ...o .ctd .o your work: No tricky
.l*ot-ye.Batechniques or fancy
..r .to .pe ...re*effects for the sake
*s*o tof showing off. That is,
* h o* * choo *unfortunately, rare in a
student book.


"I think you have the potential to be a talented and suc-
cessful art director. Your craft is excellent, and you show a
real adeptness at web design. You seem to have high stan-
dards for the appearance of your work, and that will serve
you well. Congratulations on all of the obvious hard work
done to finish this portfolio.
I "Overall, I think (you are) very conceptual and have
lots of great ideas and potential. And I like most of what
I see. The campaigns hold together well after seeing one,
two or all three ads, you'd become familiar with the mes-
sage and realize its part of a bigger campaign. I think the
designs, on an average, are stronger than the editorial.
I love the use of photography and simplistic white space.
(The ads) feel fresh and uncluttered."
e "You're REALLY on the right track."
O "Overall you have a nice sense of design. Your color
composition is very nicely executed and you seem to know
what constitutes good design."
*:* "Overall, I would say the quality of the work is quite
good. The use of negative space is strong. I must say I think
the concepts are quite strong graphically."


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original. In the business, you have to constantly switch
gears and create campaigns that are for all types of clients.
I personally work on a hugely diverse account list. So it is
very important for your marketability, to be able to work
along those lines.
"Conceptually, I think you could use a lot of work. There
is nothing that is jumping out at me that I feel is an origi-
nal or fresh idea. Although I do like the ideas behind the
wedding and one campaigns."
o* "The use of negative space is strong. On the other
hand, I would say that the use of this is perhaps a little too
much of a consistent theme across all the pieces. If they
were never to be seen together, however, this would not
necessarily be a consideration. Also, I would say that they
all share the elegant look, and I think it would be wise to
show work that shows flexibility and a variety of styles. I
was recently hiring, and this was a consideration. Some
designers had beautiful work, and I wanted to use them.


bo. I'scla tatI ae o ae om cage. u
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Neguative Revtews
0 "I don't see any really big ideas in your book."
V "Overall, your copywriting needs work. It feels a
little expected, sometimes a little too flowery, and some-
times it is repetitive. I think that you show competence in
writing, it's FINE, but you need more than that. I think you
should work to make your writing more fun, quick, sharp,
to-the-point, surprising, natural, fresh. I'd just keep study-
ing the award books and keep writing lots of stuff."
O "When I look at your work as a whole, it seems to
have the same type of feel. The Cayman ads, the Pasta ads,
the wedding ads, and the ONE ads all have a similar use of
white space. The typography is very similar throughout
many of the pieces. Although your art direction should
really be fitted to your concept and strategy, when showing
your book you really want to showcase a diverse realm of
art direction execution. And especially try to make it feel


The one thing I did ask was if they had something that
showed a style unlike that I was shown... i.e. something
other than their personal style. I think this is very impor-
tant. The ability to divorce yourself from your signature
look... i.e. something other than their personal style."




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0 PART TWO
APutthing Together your Book
0
0D CGetting Starte: The Book & Creativity



0
0 Prod ucts, strategy y The Big (dea


00 Medla, SkiLLS & campaign serLes


Packagig your Book & Their Expe&tations


0 Expert Advice Tips Fromvt the Author
0







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whu do I need a book?
Agency relatives who are hiring want candidates who
have an understanding of the advertising business and
the "(raft."
They look for certain characteristics: "originality" and
"conceptual thinking."They want to see what you know, but
also what you actually can do. They want to see an
ability to think, contribute, and produce.
So you've got to find a way to show-
case your talents that exemplifies
these characteristics. Creative
directors are busy people, and
they see a lot of work. So
Sdopped o your work has to be good
enough to quickly capture
their interest. It has to stand
S A out from the rest-all by itself.


4)
t.1
-CS


T


H-ow do I Create a book?
If you want to create a book that really demonstrates
your ability to think different, some people enroll in portfolio
schools. That's where they're coached until their skills are
ultimately perfected.
But some people don't have enough time or money to
invest in portfolio school. They have to find out how to perfect
their work. After all, without a portfolio to demonstrate your
superb creative ability, it's almost impossible to get that first
creative job in advertising.

Hfow do I Create a boo
without goinVgj to
Portfolio school?
Get to know how agency-types define simple advertising
terminology. If you talk with creative, they may let you know
how they answer basic questions about the advertising indus-
try-and what they require for a student book. They may offer
some advice for developing effective ads that will help you
land your first ad agency creative job.
Here are a few "words of wisdom"-free of charge.


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Ask yourself, "Am I saying something unique? Or am I
saying anything at all?"
Advertising is a business. Some say the goal of an ad or
commercial is to sell.
But advertising also is about communication. Sometimes
it's about entertainment. Sometimes it's about informing the
viewer. Whatever the case, just remember that you ultimately
are trying to communicate or convey a message from the
advertiser.
So don't just dream up creative ideas for the sake of
being different. Keep in mind that your mission is to com-
municate-and of course, make money for the client.
If your ad is incredible, but it doesn't sell an idea,
it's probably not as incredible as you thought.

Do I ht2ve wAh/t it Takes?
How do you know if you have the right stuff to create
great advertising?
True creative are passionate about their work. They take
great pride in their ideas, and they'll do whatever it takes to
sell an idea. To be a good creative, you've got to be curious. Be
anxious to learn, grow, and develop your talents. Creativity is
all around you, so become a human sponge. Read. Write. Study


works of art and design. Absorb everything. Reinterpret it,
and express it through your own perspective.
Good creative are willing and eager to share their
ideas. According to one professional, creative "don't self-
censor in the same way that others do." But it's this very
lack of censorship that allows a successful creative to
explore every possible solution to a problem. And of
course, there's never just one solution to an advertising
problem. There are infinite possibilities.
Creatives stereotypically are viewed as temperamental,
mysterious-and maybe even a little crazy. But you don't have
to fit this description to make it in the ad world.
Use your brain. Accept constructive criticism. And learn
how to collaborate.
Get used to the idea of working in teams, and take com-
fort in the knowledge that everybody brings his or her own
unique perspective and abilities to the table.
Even though you think you can do everything yourself,
other creative can lend their strengths to your areas of
weakness. Try working with a variety of people to produce
the best possible work. And keep expanding your knowledge
base, so you'll come to the table with plenty of ideas.


Blah, Bla h... Creativity ,
Blah, Blah, Bla ...
Creativity.
In advertising, we use that word every day. You probably
think you know exactly what it means.
But can you clearly define it?
Ask a seasoned "creative" to define the term, and see
what he or she says. It might sound something like: "new
solutions to standard problems" or "breaking through the
clutter." They'll probably dance around the question and say
something vague.
But if you think about it, being creative is about "being
unique." Maybe "saying something different." Something
interesting and new. Adding an unexpected twist to some-
thing ordinary.
That might seem obvious, but when you're in a time-
crunch, ideas may lack that spark of individuality. And your
clever ideas sometimes carry traces of other successful
campaigns. They might "borrow" too much from expected
or proven solutions.
So when you're dreaming up the next "most awesome idea
you've ever had," go back to the basic definitions of creativity.


--L I I


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He said to choose products you know. "Perhaps you have
a hobby of playing the guitar. Create a campaign for the best
guitar." Focusing on a product you love should make your
mission fun and easy. And when you're having fun, the ideas
should come one right after another.
If you create an ad that entertains you, it just might
entertain the consumer.
Even though product suggestions may vary, the profes-
sionals agree that some products should be avoided at all
costs. They may be tempting, but fight the urge to do ads for
tattoo parlors, Harley Davidson dealers and condoms. These
products aren't very challenging-and some pros think they're
just in "poor taste."
Either way, they're overdone in student portfolios. And the
last thing a creative hopeful wants to demonstrate is a lack of
originality.
Limit the number of public service ads in your book. One
is fine, but since issues like domestic violence and drug abuse
are emotionally charged, it's easy to persuade the viewer to
oppose them. Instead, tell the consumer something they
don't already know. Stir up some feelings they never knew
they had. Surprise them. Change their minds.


What pro tc tcts shouLd
ha \ve y I/ V 0 b0ook?
Test your skills by dreaming up ads for a wide variety
of products.
Try ordinary products like lip balm.
Try new products, like flat TV.
Or make up products, and do ads for them, too. One
creative director suggests creating ads for common products
such as a paperclip because, "anyone can cherry-pick and
come up with a good idea for a known product." But the
aspiring creative who can make a paperclip interesting just
might have some potential.
A different creative director suggests thinking of a rela-
tively boring product and making it fun. Try tires, electronics
products, business-to-business-anything that seems rather
uninteresting. Successful creative "put babies in tires
because tires are (otherwise) boring."
Dream up something refreshing. Add some flair to
toothpaste. Entice the audience with garbage bags. Make
them want to read about laundry detergent.
According to another pro, the key is to find a unique
selling proposition-sometimes called the USP.


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What the heck- s
a big idea anyWa?
The big idea is a broad theme that can be applied to every
element of an ad campaign.
Each creative execution reinforces the big idea, using simi-
lar design, copy and style elements to convey the same overall
message.
Asking creative to define the "big idea" is like asking
an astronaut to explain the feeling of floating in space. It's
almost impossible to describe.
And to make matters worse, the big idea often is referred
to as a "concept" a much-debated term that is relentless-
ly overused in the field of advertising. Some define the big
idea as an umbrella idea, something that gives a message
legs, on which to stand and grow. According to one copywriter:
"It's like a punch in the mouth. It hits you over the head." It
makes the message clear in an instant. This copywriter defers
to Bill Bernbach, who said, 'The magic is in the product,'
explaining, "The big idea is often a tagline like 'Just Do It.'
But it doesn't have to be. It can be a visual solution like the
Evian ad where the mermaid is drinking from the bottle. The
big idea has magic. It's synergy."


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Start with Strategy.
In advertising, every art director and copywriter begins
with strategy.
So should you.
And you should make sure you understand how to use that
strategy when conceptualizing and executing your ads. Show
the people reviewing your book that you know how to think.
Let them know you understand how "to craft" a concept.
After selecting products, don't just sit there staring at a
stark white sheet of paper waiting for genius to strike. Get
the ball rolling. Write a strategy and message statement
to organize your thoughts. As one creative manager said,
"answer the following questions and the creative juices will
be flowing in no time."
Who is the target market? (who the ad speaks to)
What consumer need should I try to meet?
What will the product do for the consumer?
What is the marketing strategy or purpose?
What goal do I expect the ads to accomplish?
After you have some focus, devise a "big idea." Every ad
has to have a big idea. It's a creative way to get the reader's
attention.
And once you've got their attention, you'll need to hold it
long enough to communicate an idea. So your big idea had
better be a good one.
















H-ow polished shotld
my work be?
When a creative reviews your book, they're not expecting
to see the slickest work known to man. Sure, polished work
may really wow them, but only if the underlying concepts are
strong. Most professionals understand that students have lit-
tle opportunity to have their work professionally produced.
More importantly, they want to see your thought process.
They want to know if you can think logically about a
problem, generate ideas, and devise a one-of-a-kind creative
solution.
In this age of technology, computer skills are growing
increasingly important. While computer skills certainly can be
important for getting a first art director's job, professionals
really want to see that you can think creatively.
They need to see your basic thinking process and
that you can function without computer software. Remember
that a computer is merely a tool; it can't make you think of
that big idea.


Creativity comes from inside of you. Your computer is
simply a means-to-an-end.
Depending on the position you want in an agency, profes-
sionals don't mind seeing roughs in your book. Tightly
sketched concepts can communicate your understanding of
the creative process. If you want to be an art director, some
thumbnails or marker comps are generally acceptable. If you
plan to show the complete idea generation process, select a
concept from your marker roughs and execute it in finished
form. This will indicate not only your ability to think, but to
complete the process as well. However, be sure to include a
variety of more finished work to offset the overall presenta-
tion of your work.
Some creative directors actually prefer to see a few rough
concepts. Says one art director, "I won't hire even a web
designer without either print knowledge or VERY strong tradi-
tional conceptual (skills), comping and/or drafting." Besides,
there's no point in including a piece simply because it's been
printed. That doesn't necessarily mean it's good. The way a
person thinks is far more important.


V')


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ested in your basic understanding of TV and radio,
as well as ability to develop concepts. Print and
billboards are a great way to showcase clever
concepting abilities, as they only allow the viewer
"one shot" at communicating with the viewer.
Either they get it or they don't.
The type of media in your book also depends on
your level of experience. Students coming right out of
school are not generally encouraged to include TV sto-
ryboards. That's because inexperienced creative are
rarely given the chance to work with television until they've
refined their skills. This lack of experience with television
often denies new creative the opportunity to work with such
a complex medium firsthand. Furthermore, storyboards can be
rather difficult to create. And they take more time to decipher
than the average reviewer will probably want to give. So if
you really want to include TV, limit your book to only one sto-
ryboard. And make sure it clearly communicates the big idea
in one simple, powerful thought.


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What mvIedia shoLt0d
ZI .inPclutde?

The subject of media is as diverse as the people reviewing
your book. Preferences will vary, depending on the size and
type of agency you want to work at. So learn about the per-
son who will be critiquing your book. And tailor your book to
their preferences. After all, you wouldn't create an ad without
considering the target market. So why not target your book to
the reviewer?
One creative director comments, "Personally, I like to see
a lot of print because I think that's much more indicative of
what a person can do... Print demonstrates the basic skills that
are so important: typography, layout, etc." The creative direc-
tor of a smaller design studio may want to see mostly print
collateral, interactive work, or multi-media ability. The creative
director of a new media design firm might suggest having all
three, along with something unique such as packaging.
Says one art director, "People who are multimedia are
gold." Still, a larger advertising agency may be more inter-


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than 8.5" by 11." One creative said that he likes to hove a
website to review before setting up an interview with a
potential hire, but when the applicant comes in, he's definite-
ly looking for a traditional portfolio. Another creative said
that paper samples are still easier to keep on file, while URLs
and CDs are too hard to find for quick reference purposes.
Some agencies actually prefer to see a traditional-format
book. "It's more tactile. It's easier to spend time with and
experience, and the craftsmanship involved in putting the
book together is very important," suggests one creative
director.
So while embracing modern technology might get you an
interview and a pat on the back, you'll want to have some-
thing in print to allow for closer scrutiny. And there may be
drawbacks to bringing your book only on CD. At Disney, for
example, prospects are interviewed by a panel of creative,
so all of them need to be able to see the material at the
same time. If you bring or send one CD, everyone will have to
fight for a place to view your work. So consider the receiver
before you phase out that old-fashioned paper portfolio.


How do l( awinounvce myVV
CreativitU to the worLQd?
Now that you've got all your fabulous ideas in one place,
you've got to start getting your work out there. These days,
creative-types are developing portfolios using a variety of
tools, and the preferred method, again, depends on who's
doing the hiring. So dabble in a variety of media for compil-
ing a book. And don't put all your eggs in one basket. Would
Nike advertise only in one place? Of course not. So neither
should you.
A CD-ROM or online portfolio shows you're not afraid to
tackle new media. One creative commented, "It's really cool
that you have your book online. I've been meaning to do to
that myself for sometime now." Another creative suggested,
"I like to at least have a website to look at... I generally even
want a web portfolio for print. This is because I receive a lot
of solicitations. If I can see your materials before I bring you
in, that's great."
But keep in mind that sending a tangible book still earns
good marks. A mini-book is suggested, something no larger


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for color usage, creativity, unique pieces... something well
thought out and practical for printing."
Some creative are interested in production skills as an
indication of personal dedication to design arts. One art direc-
tor explains, "If a student has a portfolio that gives some
sense of familiarity with design heritage (and) innovation, I
would think that she/he: 1) takes (design) seriously, 2) is a
visually-aware person, and 3) has a (knowledge) base from
which to springboard." And such a candidate would be more
likely to be granted an interview.
Not all portfolio reviewers are necessarily looking for
production skills. One creative director explains, "I look for
conceptual thinking. Can the person identify a selling propo-
sition and then communicate it in a unique way?"
Some reviewers are looking for the complete package.
According to one art director, there are three very important
things to look for when evaluating an art director's book: 1)
the concept, 2) how the art direction enhances or brings life to


the idea, and 3) the look and feel of the piece. He explains,
"Usually when I am asked to comment on an art director's
work, I am brutally honest. I often find that it is best for you
to hear it that way. Also, when you get into the business
things usually go that way, and it is good to develop a tough
skin early. Also, my critique is just that, MY critique. So you
need to evaluate it along with that of others to come to a
conclusion."
Regardless of your technical skills, there are more basic
qualities that all reviewers will be looking for. Remember to
carefully proofread everything from your ads to your resume.
Have a friend or professor give your work a second or third
round of proofing. Little mistakes can make a lasting negative
impression with a portfolio reviewer. A creative director
adamantly explains, "I won't even see someone if they've
got a typo in their resume. If they can't even get their resume
right, FOR THEMSELVES, why should I believe they'll do a good
job for my clients?"


So what do they expect?
Creative directors want to see a variety of work for a
variety of real or imagined clients. They want to see a com-
bination of qualities, from creative ideas and smoothly
flowing copy to concept and production skills. Remember
that creative directors are a diverse group of people, from
all walks of life and a variety of disciplines. They have a
diverse set of viewpoints and preferences regarding an art
director's book. And they are bombarded with books. Some
of the books are terrific, and some of them are not so ter-
rific. "I see tons of work every day. And I only love a small
percentage of it," says one copywriter.
Some creative are quite interested in production skills.
One Creative Director explains, "That is the starting point in
our company. Then I look at personal skills (i.e. good person-
ality, ability to communicate, etc.). Next I look for the ability
to think 'outside the lines.' I'm not looking for someone with
great ideas, just the ability to think creatively" ...I'm looking


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for


So you think you I re on the right track?
You may be, but there is always room
for improvement. Seasoned creatives
gave several tips for any aspiring
creative who wants to be suc-


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how and why the creative team came up with the execution.
Also, don't be afraid to go back with stuff you have already
done and try to make it better."

Show your creative stuff.
Equally important for any aspiring creative is being able
to convey what you can do, creatively and conceptually. An
editor/copywriter suggests students show variety within cam-
paigns, and make the copy easy to read. She explains, "Make
it pop. The ultimate purpose of any (ad) is to get the con-
sumer to look at it and hopefully act on it. Think of the art
direction and copy as dancing partners, working together."
One art director advises students to demonstrate that you
can produce (anything). He says, "For myself, at least, this is
vital. If you can't design so that it works, or if I have to con-
stantly be your production babysitter, that is a real turn-off."
On idea generation, that same art director suggests,
"Have a "brainstorming club" so to speak. Nothing is worse
than sitting in your own studio and trying to not only create,
but critique. You end up hearing echoes of your own thoughts,
constant feedback and harping on familiar themes, etc. With a
group, they can criticize as well as point out new possibilities,
and quite frankly tell you when an idea just isn't good. I've


i The most important
thing a student can do is
read. Become a human sponge.
Absorb everything related to the indus-
try. One copywriter advises students to study
Communication Arts and One Show. He coaches, "Keep a
sketchpad handy. Your ideas should work on a sketchpad.
Work on ideas for anything and everything you can think
of. Work on ideas for things you love."
An admissions director for one portfolio school suggests
reading CMYK, the student art magazine. An art director
advises students to look at both new and old magazines,
including those from other cultures. He recommends every-
thing from German Post-Modern Design and WPA Design to
World War II Propaganda and French posters. One portfolio
school professor, like many of the creative interviewed, sug-
gests reading Luke Sullivan's "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This."
One art director suggests reading "Cutting Edge
Advertising", "Eating the Big Fish", and "Disruption." He
suggests, "Look at annuals, but don't copy them. Look at the
great ads. Try to deconstruct them. Find out what makes them
great. You can usually determine what the strategy is and


Read, read, read.


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had that, of course... This group doesn't necessarily have to
be working on similar projects. Everyone brings their own
(objectivity) to the table. Also, don't just make it your buddies.
Get people you don't necessarily know. Get people who you
might not even hang around with necessarily, or seem to
have anything in common with. The wider the array of
viewpoints, the better.
"Also, steal. Just kidding... kind of. You can get inspired
by looking at design around you. But don't just look at maga-
zines with the newest stuff in them. Look at older magazines,
from around the world. This gives you a very good visual
base to work from."
One copywriter advises, "If you really want to work in
this business, you really have to want it and work really hard.
Most of the juniors that we hire do come out of the portfolio
school: VCU Ad Center, Portfolio Center, and Miami Ad School.
But, I don't believe you have to go there to get into a good
agency. What you do have to do is spend a lot of time work-
ing on making your book better. You have to teach yourself,
and bust your ass. Because you're competing against these
people. It's not easy, but it can be done, if you decide that you
really want to go that route."




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MethoPdolog overview:
where dtid cllthls
LiAslght COvKe frow'?
Prior to conducting the portfolio critique, preliminary
studies included one focus group and two depth interviews.
The focus group was conducted online. One depth interview
was conducted in person; the other was conducted online.
Focus Group. Focus group participants were sought
from three primary sources: 1) the 1999 University of Florida
Advertising Advisory Council, 2) the current AIGA membership
directory, and 3) contacts of the researcher. Creatives working
in the southeastern United States were contacted and invited
to join the study. Interested participants were given the
details of the study, including the topic of discussion, time
and mode of communication, projected length of the session,
and instructions for participation. Informed consent forms
were emailed to participants, who were asked to print the
forms, sign them, and fax them back to the researcher prior
to the focus group session.
Three participants were selected from different locations.
Because it would be costly to arrange a session in one physi-


WhVo were the Critique
expertss Anjvw,2?
/ Primarily a writer, but also a talented designer.
Has her own business.
O Copywriter at ad agency.
V Associate Professor (at a major portfolio school)
of Typography & Layout, Campaign Development.
0 Art Director at ad agency.
o Designer/Art Director/ Production Manager.
Has his own design/production company.
I Copywriter at a large company.
(- Admissions/Placement person at a major
portfolio school.
This book also incorporated the insightful comments
of four other individuals whom did not critique the
work. Two of them are Creative Directors and partners
Partners in their own ad agencies. One is a Creative
Director/Partner at his own ad agency/design firm. And
one is an Editor/Copywriter in the marketing depart-
ment of a large company.


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corner of a restaurant. She was asked to sign the informed
consent form, and the interview was audiotoped for later
transcription.
The second interview participant was a Creative Director
and partner at a large advertising agency in south Florida.
Because of the distance between us, he was invited to log on
to the pre-existing discussion page (used in the focus group)
for an online interview. The participant agreed, and the
informed consent form was emailed to him. He was asked to
print, sign, and fax the form back to the researcher prior to
the session. The "log on" procedure remained the same as
that of the focus group, and again the dialog was copied and
pasted into a word processor for printing.
Critique. The information gathered during these
preliminary activities was used to revise the question guide
and select portfolio pieces for critique. A website was creat-
ed to showcase the portfolio pieces which were to be to be
evaluated. Measures were taken to eliminate extraneous
information from the test site, so that only the creative
work (and web site) could be evaluated. No measures were
taken to account for potential variance in the color calibra-
tion of the participants' monitors.


Members of all


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disciplines, from copy-
writing to design, were con-
tacted at ad agencies, design firms, and
portfolio schools, and invited to participate in the critique.
Those interested were sent an email containing the following
items: instructions for participation, the informed consent
form, the URL for the portfolio website, and the URL for the
chat page (www.reneeschat.da.ru).
The procedure was simple. Participants were asked to first
print the consent forms, sign them, and fax them back to the
researcher. Second, participants were invited to visit the chat
page and review the portfolio work at their convenience. (All
participants were offered a hard copy of the work, but they
declined.) Third, participants were invited to log on to the chat
page at a pre-arranged time to discuss the work. During the
online chat, my questions were designed merely to ascertain
the positive and negative qualities of the work, suggestions
for improvement, and to clarify concepts and terminology.
Finally, the complete critique session was copied and pasted
into a word processing program so the transcripts could be
printed.


cal location, the focus group was conducted online. A private
discussion page was created, and participants were invited
to log on to the web site (www.reneeschat.da.ru) at a pre-
arranged time. Participants wishing to remain anonymous
were given the option of creating an alternate username. I
posed general, open-ended questions about their expecta-
tions for portfolios. As responses were given, they instanta-
neously became visible to all participants, enabling interac-
tion and group discourse to take place. The session lasted
approximately fifty minutes. Because the pilot focus group
was conducted online, the discussion remained in a JavaScript
window until after the session concluded. At this time, the
dialog was copied and pasted into a word processing program
for printing the transcripts.
Depth Interviews. In hopes of gaining a richer
understanding of portfolio evaluation, two depth interviews
were conducted. The first interview participant was a Creative
Director in the marketing department at a very large, world-
wide company. She had plans to be in Goinesville, so we
arranged to meet in person. It was my hope that a face-to-
face dialog would encourage rich, detailed explanations and
thoughtful insight. The interview was conducted in a quiet


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