Enjoy the Ride

‘Enjoy the ride’ is a 3-minute TV spot by 303 Advertising for the Road Safety Council of Western Australia.

Instead of just telling you to drive slower, they explore the idea a little further. The result is another benefit of driving slow that people tend to overlook. It answers one of the most common problems people face in their everyday city life, which I myself among many others can really relate to.

The ad itself is 3 minutes long and that in itself makes people stop their fast-paced life filled with 15-30 second ads and listen to what they have to say. At the same time, it is engaging and leads the audience to watch till the end.

One irony, though, is that the people who made this TV ad probably lead a very stressful and fast-paced lifestyle. (I mean, who doesn’t in the advertising industry?)

‘Miss Turkey’ – Carl’s Jr.

A TV spot promoting Carl’s Jr. new charred turkey burger by David&Goliath, Person Films and Union Editorial.

It’s cheeky and memorable. It uses every shameful cliché found in many shameless commercials, but they do it in such a way that nobody can really say anything bad about it.

“Q: What’s the best way to sell a burger? A: With a girl in a bikini. Duh.” –Communication Arts news

My first InDesign experiment

The other day I had an IT session on InDesign. Click here to see what I learned.

At the end of the session, the tutor gave us some homework.

We were given a chunk of text and some images. Then we were supposed to use them to make a three-page document using InDesign.

Here are the specifications:

  • Install at least one font from DaFont.com
  • create 3-page document with a master text frame
  • Width 150 mm
  • Height 205 mm
  • 2 columns with a gutter of 3 mm
  • Top margins 10 mm
  • Bottom margin 10 mm
  • Inside margin 5 mm
  • Outside margin 7 mm

In the beginning, I pretty much had no idea where to start, as I had never really designed a magazine before. But I looked up some examples of design magazines and got some inspiration.

Click here to see what I arrived at.

“Why You?”

Yesterday, we had a talk session with our guest speaker Dave Davidson, the Design Director at Infinite, on the topic of “Why You?” regarding employability.

Dave Davidson is originally from Newcastle upon Tyne and was also a student at Newcastle College. He graduated in 1996 and left for London, since it seemed like what everyone needed to do. He got there and hated it. So he came back to Newcastle and remained unemployed for 12 full months before getting a job at an agency here.

He’s worked for Dance City, the Metro, One North East, End clothing brand, Saints Hotel, and many other personal clients.

He talked us through some of his work, some good and some bad, but all had stories behind them that we could learn something from.

I found the stories very interesting. (It was very long so I’m not going to tell all of it here.)

Dave has been through a lot: bad and good experiences regarding agencies, clients, etc. but the main thing to learn from his stories and to always keep in mind is to stay tough and stay excited.

“Why You?”

What the agencies look for is a series of attributes of a person.

It varies from person to person, from agency to agency. (Sometimes the interviewer will even have the list of attributes they are looking for and tick off one by one as they interview you.)

For Dave himself, he said, he looks for the three P’s: Personality, Portfolio, Passion.


  • Relaxed: Remember you are only there talking with someone who has the same interest and passion as you do. Both of you are there to talk about the things you both like and enjoy.
  • Professional: Be there on time and be prepared.
  • Honest: Some try to be what they think the agencies are looking for. The agencies will see through it. Just be yourself.


  • Genuine: Only show your own work, and be honest about how much you have put into each piece of work. Everyone knows someone who knows someone in this industry. There are a lot of tragic stories of those who try to claim others’ work to be theirs. They are always found out.
  • Confident: Be confident about your work.
  • Receptive: You have to get used to being critiqued. You are, most of the time, there to ask for their opinions anyway. Don’t defend your work. Listen to what they have to say about it.


  • Brave: Sometimes you have to take risks. Show a piece of work you’re not sure of. Sometimes what you think is bad, others might find good. They might be able to see the potential in it.
  • Committed: If you really believe in your idea, stand by it. Explain why you think it could work. But do it comfortably. Don’t say “No, you’re wrong and I am right.” Take what they have to say on board, while explaining what you think.
  • Positive: With all the above in mind, you will come off as a positive person. After all, if they hire you they are probably going to spend more time with you more than their own spouse. They have to make sure that they will like you.

Personality is important. If your portfolio is great, but you have a bad attitude, they probably wouldn’t want you around in their agency. But if your portfolio is alright, but you are a great, positive, fun person, they will find the potential in you and help you grow.

You don’t have to start off being the best in the industry. As long as they see your potential, you’ll be fine.

At the end of the day, what they probably care most about is whether you can help them make money.

Portfolio for creatives

Yesterday we had PPD session on physical and online portfolio for advertisers, graphic designers and web designers. It reassured and confirmed a lot of things I was unsure of.

There is no specific number of pieces of work that should be in a portfolio. But the average is around 8-12 pieces and around 6-8 projects (in one project there can be more than one piece). However, in the end it’s the quality of work that matters and not quantity.

The first piece of work or project you put in your portfolio should be your best and strongest work. It should have that “wow” factor. Also, it’s important to end strong as the last page of your portfolio tends to be left open while you talk afterwards. The rest of your portfolio should also be strong. Meaning you should be comfortable and confident with every single piece of your work that you put in there.

In your portfolio, there should be various types of work, unless you choose to specialize in a certain kind of area. For example, choose different kinds of clients, utilize different styles, etc.

When choosing work, you should also keep in mind to choose according to the type of agency you’re applying for.

Also, your portfolio should reflect you. Put some personal work in, something that can show them a little about you.

If you have done some relevant work on your placement, you should put it in. It doesn’t have to be the best campaign or design in the world.

One essential thing is to spell check. Errors will really stand out and it makes you look like a sloppy person. (Having mentioned that, I would like to state that the presentation the tutor used to present this had at least two grammar/spelling errors.)

You should always keep your portfolio current and up to date. When you are working on a placement, keep updating it. Wherever you work, you should keep all the files so you can use them whenever you want to update your portfolio.

You should also pay attention to details, as in the layout, etc.

When buying your portfolio case, bare in mind that the style and format reflects/affects what is inside. There are no rules regarding the portfolio case. You don’t have to spend a fortune on it. In the end, it’s the work they are looking at. Here’s a list of site you can check out for portfolio cases:

All your work should be protected with sleeves or laminated.

Most professionals prefer A3 to A4 format, as it retains more details in design. A3 is not too big and not too small. No one would want you to crowd their studio space up with your A1 or A2 portfolio. However, half-size is the lowest you should go when reducing the size of your work. If you have to go smaller than that, don’t show it.

When putting together and designing your portfolio, approach it like a design job. It is yours after all. Treat yourself like a client. Think about what you want. Think about different designs, grid and layout, while making sure it is consistent. Try using InDesign if you can, as it makes your job easier.

Think about the different types of work that you have (TV campaign, print campaign, package design, branding, etc.), how you want your work to be seen, and how you want each page to look.

If you want to brand your portfolio, it is your choice. But if you choose to do it, make sure you keep it small and subtle. The focus should always be on your work.

Also, think about titles and project description. Keep it short and to the point. Sometimes you won’t get to be there when they look at your portfolio and explain everything. Make sure all the necessary information is there. Keep the labels consistent.

Background color should be neutral color, like white or light gray. If your work has white background, don’t use black background. Draw a frame around it instead. Use 0.5 pt and make it 75% instead of completely black.

When you decide whether your portfolio should be portrait or landscape, look at your work first. When arranging your work, never mix landscape work and portrait work in one spread. Always think about consistency.

Make sure to put spacing around your work. It draws the eyes to your work.

Hawaii Design website has a very nice way of showcasing their work.

It is also very important to be able to talk about your work. You should know everything about every single piece of work you put in your portfolio. They might ask you what typeface you use for one piece, and make sure you have an answer. One tip is to write down everything about every piece of work and read it through before going into an interview.

The more you practice, the better you do in an interview. Talk through every piece of work, over and over. Talk to someone. It might be awkward in the beginning but it helps eliminate uncomfortable feelings. Also, make sure you don’t ramble. People you meet tend to be very busy and make sure you don’t waste their time.

Networking is essential. It is nice to know a lot of people you can go in to show your portfolio to. Most creatives like to give honest opinions. When you go in to show your portfolio, don’t talk too much. You are there to listen and only talk when asked a question or to explain something.

Be punctual. Always get there on time. It’s also nice to make friendly eye contact, and show that you have done your homework.

Be prepared. Find out the address and phone number of the agency in case you get lost. You can even go down there before the interview to make sure you know exactly where it is. Bring a copy of your CV or business card, to have something to leave behind. Bring a notebook and a pen to take notes when they give advice. If your work is digital, bring backup files.

Mostly, what agencies look for are logical thinking, creative understanding, talent, and personality.

When it comes to online portfolio, it is the first contact you have with the agency and you won’t be there to explain anything. If they ask you to email them a digital or online version of your portfolio, don’t send all of the work you have (send four or something). Give only samples. So when you actually go in for interview, you’ll still have something else to show and talk about.

When making an online portfolio or a website, know your goals (freelance work or to get hired) and your target audience. It will determine the tone of voice. The focus should be on the content, and shouldn’t be distracted by the design.

An example of how to title each section is:

  • Portfolio: your work
  • About: your bio
  • Contact: should be easy to find
  • CV: not necessary

You can also categorize your work, according to the type of media, for example. Work is the main focus, and don’t overcrowd.

Keep your website simple and easy to navigate. Again, don’t show everything you’ve got.

Here are two books that the tutor recommended:

“How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired” by Fig Taylor, Laurence King Publishing

“How to be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul” by Adrian Shaughnessy

My personal statement and useful links

The other day, I blogged about how I was struggling to write my personal statement for my CV. (Click here for the post.) Yesterday, I finally finished it.

I began the process by putting together all the personal statements I’d written so far and selected the parts that I liked and wanted to build on.

One that I found was:

I’m a creative advertising student in the North East of England, with skills in both art direction and copywriting.

Over the years, I have come to love everything about advertising: the energy, the call for creativity, the stress that leads to sleepless nights, and the joy of discovering just the right idea.

I am also captivated by the power of the media. Advertising is a part of our daily life. It is an art form that people live with. And since we cannot avoid it, I would like to help make it at least pleasant to live with.

My life-long plan is to gain experiences from working in the advertising industry from around the world.

I love traveling and am fascinated by different cultures. I’m a thespian and a dancer. Food is my passion. Observing people is my hobby. I like psychology, and I read literature and poetry just for fun.

Another was a little longer, which was the one I wrote when applying to UCAS. Click here to read it.

After reading, selecting, deleting, and rewriting, this is what I arrived at:

Captivated by the power of media, exhilarated by the energy, and head over heels in love with the call for creativity, I am taking my first few steps towards the creative industry, ready for the stressful and sleepless nights.

Last year, I, not knowing what I wanted, moved from my comfortable home in Thailand to the UK in hope that the Creative Advertising course at Newcastle College was going to improve my educational and personal character, and lead me to the path that was right for me.

During the summer break after my first year, I went back home to Bangkok for a three-month internship program in the Brand Management department in one of the biggest companies in ASEAN. Even though I had learned immensely from the internship, I realized, after engaging in so much public relations work, that I missed generating creativity and being stressed over it. This realization confirmed my career choice and reassures me that I am stepping in the right direction.

I now am heading towards the end of the second year. I have thought so much about the future, but everything is still a blur. One thing I know for sure is that I want to do everything that promises me a place in the advertising industry.

I have recently accepted an offer from Northumbria University to finish my bachelor in Media and Advertising, and now am looking for more work experience to enrich my skills and potentials.

I enjoy trying and learning new things, exploring new possibilities, and occasionally getting hurt along the way.

My life-long plan is to gain both professional and personal experiences from working in the advertising industry in various countries around the globe, as I love traveling and am fascinated by different cultures. I want to see and experience as much as I can before I settle down in one place.

Which I thought was way too long and sounded too much like a covering letter.

So I cut out a lot of it and summarized it even further.

I went back to read the reference that my current tutor wrote for me. Click here to read it. Then I made a list of the positive attributes he mentioned in the reference:

  • Devoted
  • Committed
  • Dedicated
  • Mature
  • Confident
  • Self-motivated
  • Thoughtful
  • Well-mannered
  • Creative thinking
  • Presentation skills

Then I thought of ways to exhibit those attributes without having to mention it, as I didn’t want it to sound too obvious and generic.

So I wrote down:

I have been trained to apply creative thinking to solving briefs and life problems, while developing my presentation skills.

I have had work experience as a brand manager during a three-month internship.

Captivated by the power of media, exhilarated by the energy, and head over heels in love with the call for creativity, I am taking my first few steps towards the creative industry, ready for the stressful and sleepless nights.

I kind of liked what I had now. It’s short, concise, and covers most of the things I wanted to say.

But it sounds boring. So I rewrote it again. And this is what I arrived at:

A young creative, ready to find joy in the stressful days and sleepless nights of the advertising industry. Well-trained by Newcastle College to apply creative thinking to solving problems and to pretend to be comfortable with client presentations. Equipped with industry experience as a brand manager during a summer internship. Captivated by the power of media, exhilarated by the energy, and head over heels in love with the call for creativity.

Which is what I have decided to use in my CV.

Finally, here are the links of useful site I found along the way:

Good luck!

InDesign for beginners

Today in IT session, we got to learn InDesign. I was pretty excited because I’ve always wanted to use the program, I just haven’t been smart enough to learn by myself through video tutorials (like my dad did).

In 1984, Adobe PostScript capabilities were built into the Mac. In 1985 in the same day came the Aldus Pagemaker and the LaserWriter.

Before all these Desktop Publishing (DTP) programs arrived, it was very difficult for designers to actually design something and know for sure how it was going to look like after printing. They had to either cut and paste manually with scissors and everything, or they had to take their chances and witness their work turning into something horrifying after printing.

So the invention of these DTP programs was a big break-through.

InDesign files are, like Illustrator files, small, and should remain small.

All image and text files are linked via the place command. Meaning they can be placed in the InDesign page, straight from Word or RTF if it’s a text file for example. Meaning if you work with a photographer who is retouching the images, and a writer who is still working on the copy, you can ‘place’ the initial files in InDesign and as those professionals work on their part and click ‘save’, the image or text you had earlier ‘placed’ on your page in InDesign will be updated accordingly.

This makes it much easier for you to work with other professionals, as you don’t have to keep getting the files from them on thumb drive or via email every time they update their work.

This means all the files you use in your InDesign document must be kept together in one folder, or else the program will inform you that a link is missing.

Apart from being updated in real time, the links can also be re-used multiple times (like having the same logo reappearing on every single page of your 100-page magazine) and the linked files can be amended by other users which aids collaborative workflow.

When you open a new document, a window will pop up where you can adjust the following elements about your document:

  • Measure out your document – setting page size as appropriate
  • Margins: top, bottom, inside margin, outside margin (Inside margin is usually larger than outside due to binding.)
  • Bleed: to the margin and beyond. Bleeding means printing over the margin, more than you need, for when you cut you avoid getting white spaces around the edge.
  • Columns and gutter (space between columns)
  • Master Text Frame

The type of image file you should use the most is TIFF with CMYK color instead of RGB. (RGB is for viewing on screen and CMYK is for printing.) TIFF files are saved with paths/alpha if relevant and effective PPI at 300+. PSD files can be unflattened, with effective PPI at 300+. Other types of files that can be used include PDF, EPS, and AI.

Note – resolution:

  • DPI stands for dots per inch, and PPI stands for pixel per inch.
  • 300dpi = 118.11dpcm
  • 300dpcm = 762dpi
  • 300dpi is the gold standard
  • 150dpi might be acceptable

High pixels does not equate to quality, but low pixels does equate to low quality.

Before any print job, preflighting is highly recommended as it will show problems and allow you to check effective PPI (which has to be at 300+).

When setting up a document, click on More Options to adjust Bleed and Slug.

You should always pay attention to Layers just like when using Illustrator.

You should draw frames before importing images or text. One you have your frame drawn, go to File and Place to ‘place’ the files in your document. If the image is too big, right click on the image, choose Fitting and then choose Fit Frame Proportionally.

To insert text, draw a frame just like when inserting images, then choose Place and select the text file. If the text is too long to fit into one frame (a red box with a red cross will appear), draw another frame. Then with the black arrow, click on the red box, after that your cursor will change, and then you can click on the new frame you’ve drawn and the text will continue there.

If you want your text to wrap around a certain image, select that image, then you to Window, and select Text Wrap.

If a file you have already placed in the document is updated in another program and you want to update the file you have in your document accordingly, go to Window, select Links, the Palette will pop up, and then you can click Update Link.

Before printing, as I have mentioned before, Preflight is recommended. Go to File, then Preflight. At Color and Links, make sure the effective PPI is above 300.

On Adobe TV – InDesign, there are a number of useful tutorials you can check out. Click here to visit the site.

Land Rover – ‘Rare’

Y&R Dubai has just launched this beautiful, funny, and free-spirited campaign for Land Rover.

It portrays Land Rover’s target audience and consumers as having unconventional point of views, while promoting its well-known classic adventurous spirit.

As the images are a little too small, I have included the copy here for you:

For Ornithologists: Ecuadorian Hillstar (Oreotrochilus chimborazo)
This species belongs to the only group of birds that can fly backwards. All records of sightings are in the altitude range of 3,500 to 5,200 metres. Usually hides in tall grassland. The Andes: 00° 40′ S, 78° 26′ W.
For Land Rover owners:
Squeeze bird gently for a high-pitched whistle. Effective for sending Morse code signals.

For Miriapodologists: Luminous Millipede (Luminodesmus sequoiae)
This rare creature lives in mountain forests and is a specialized detritivore. Produces strong luminescence that travels from the cuticle, legs and antens. Emits bright green light throughout the body. Sierra Nevada: 36° 34′ N, 118° 17′ W.
For Land Rover owners:
Perfect for reading maps at night

For Herbologists: Snow Mountain Garlic (Allium sativum)
This rare herb only grows at 1,800 metres above sea level. Can survive temperatures as low as minus 10° centrigrade. Requires negligible levels of oxygen. The Himalayas: 35° 38′ N, 76° 18′ E.
For Land Rover owners: Applying juice on skin makes an effective mosquito repellant.

For Herpetologists: Coromandel Striped Gecko (Hoplodactylus stephensi)
This extremely rare gecko belongs to a family of over-engineered reptiles. Can hold hundreds of times its own body weight; about the equivalent of two human adults. Has an incredible ability to stick to surfaces. Coromandel Peninsula: 37° 0′ S, 175° 40′ E.
For Land Rover owners:
Tie rope around gecko. Toss gecko at cliff face. Proceed to climb.

To learn more about the agency responsible, click here.

To check out Land Rover, click here.