10 Reasons your work doesn’t suck, 6 of 10
Reason 6: There are very few rights and wrongs. You’re allowed the occasional “phone in”.
There are peaks and valleys in every portfolio. If you looked at 100 portfolios of designers and art directors, you’d see a broad spectrum of different skill-levels, styles and experience. However, in almost all those 100 books, you’re only seeing the highlight reel. So, when you see a sweet portfolio, and you think to yourself, “Well, might as well go home and hide under the bed.” – not so fast. What you’re not seeing are the other 1,104 layouts that they were too embarrassing to show.
Your career as a creative pro is going to be filled with ups and downs, but those downs make the ups, so much sweeter. There are plenty of briefs, projects, clients, logos, photography, headlines, copy, brand-standard guidelines, traffic coordinators, deadlines, dumb-shaped web banners and every other thing under the sun that will trip you up on a day-to-day basis. You’ll do layouts that you’re sure your little brother (who studied accounting) could do better without trying. You’ll get client changes that will twist your head around like a cherry twizzler, bummer comments from account teams who’ve seen this same creative too may times and creative directors who’ll just not give you the space to try something you think is cool.
There is no catch. It’s all part of the gig.
You already know that the mystique of the “sexy and intriguing life of an advertising creative” is all a fantasy made up by people who are not advertising creatives. Basically, the job is a tedious series of layout files, PDFs, revision forms and late nights. However, that’s just the price we pay for the highlights. The amazing photo shoots, cool design projects and opportunities to really spread our creative wings. Embrace the projects that are less than glamorous, understanding that they are, quite simply, stepping stones to the really awesome projects. Don’t judge yourself, or your creative worth based on the everyday duds. Print out 6 foot high versions of the awesome stuff you did 4 months ago, and hang it on your wall as a reminder how good you actually are. Focus on the highlight reel. The rest is just keeping you paid, fed and building your experience.
That’s six. Almost to ten, and just remember, that’s the short-list…