Career sunriseI just celebrated my fourth year as the Graphic Design Coordinator at Nossi College of Art. Looking back, there are times that include confusion and confidence with my decision to accept this position. In all, I’m thankful today that I can reflect in both cases with a humble heart and consider how I have grown.

My creative passion as an art director and creative director are still as intense today as when I started my career nineteen years ago. As a young designer at my first ad agency, I couldn’t wait to achieve it all. Fifteen years later and reaching my goal as a creative director for my fifth ad agency, I realized that there had to be something more for me, I just didn’t know what–after all, reaching a creative director position was the pinnacle of my career. When I left my last agency, I thought running my own business was the answer, but God had already opened another door.

It’s funny the way God works in my life. He’s already many steps ahead of me and his path is usually something I can’t see when I go looking on my own. If you would have asked me ten years ago if my career would eventually lead to a coordinator and teaching position at an Art College, I would have laughed. I mean, “those who can’t, teach.” After four years of being part of this college, I’ve learned that cliche’ is totally a farce. Try standing in front of  a room full of college students for four hours at a time and see what I mean. Not only does it challenge everything I know, but being able to teach it to others successfully depends on my very success as a professional. Add to that the ability to mentor these young people in how to mature as an adult and understand what it’s like to be a creative individual in life and I’ve got the biggest challenge in my entire career. Oh, and did I mention that I couldn’t do any of this without still being active as creative professional? And why wouldn’t I include this, my passion is still for art direction and creative direction.

I still run Care To Create and I’m always working with new clients on projects that involve both of my creative passions. Being a creative professional is less of a career than it is a lifestyle. I can’t just turn it off. If you know someone who can, I’ll argue whether that are really successful at what they do. The only difference for me is that I don’t have to fill fifty hours a week doing it. I now have the freedom to work with people and projects that inspire me. Without knowing it, I walked through the door God opened for me. Because he knows me best. All I did was have the willingness to walk though it. The rest was a four year experience that I would never give back.

Today, I can reflect back on my ad agency and teaching carer with both good and bad experiences. All of it has humbled me and God has blessed me with this understanding. I’m very grateful. Thank you all who congratulated me and who have endured both my successes and failures through it all. I look forward to the doors God will open for me next. Amen!

 

 

 

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It’s officially the start of a new year and with it comes a new occasion to leave yet another year behind, especially my struggles, failures and missed opportunities. However, forgetting my successes, triumphs and personal growth shouldn’t be part of what gets left behind. The new year brings new hope and a chance for reflection. Why did I fail? How did I succeed? Can I have confidence and peace with all of it moving forward?

Human nature compels me to focus on the worst aspects of myself. Why is it so hard to leave the shame and guilt of past mistakes where they belong–in the past? Or better, how can I forget the hurt that was caused by someone else?

I was reminded of these things from a letter that was written to my wife by a dear friend. She so perfectly stated the truth and reminded me that this validity can’t come from this world. The world doesn’t offer peace, only fear of myself and of others. I must look to my creator and savior for this understanding and wisdom. She writes:

“I promise you, there will come a day when you will have peace with the past. You’ll look at, bleed, scream, shake, mourn – and you will leave what makes no sense at the cross. And there will be a day when all of the sudden, you’ll feel so light, so free that it will scare you to be free of the moorings that have suffocated you. You will find God will rush into every crevice, every dip, and the lightness will become Light. And then, my dear girl – beware!!! Everything will look different, smell different / more alive, more vibrant.

And it will scare you enough that you may want to run back and try to shove all that junk back in there, because its safe and known to you. And you will have to look it square in the eye, and walk it back to the cross, where it belongs. Each time, you have to be valiant, because once you give it over to God, you have to keep returning it. It was a long time during which I would have to say “no. You don’t belong in my head anymore. You go back to the cross” to those sick, sorry, sad memories.

The day I realized I couldn’t even TRY to be wounded by that junk anymore was the day I understood God’s love.”

When I focus on my hurt, from myself or from others, I can’t grow, I can’t love, and I can’t even use my talents and skills to their potential. Why? Because I lose confidence, ambition and I fail to take risks that allow for progress. As a creative professional, this can be destructive. As a human being, this perspective leaves me with no hope.

Here’s what Paul, an apostle of Christ, says about this dilemma in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This means that at ANYTIME I can choose to be renewed in Christ–leaving my past failures and hurt at the foot of the cross. It, however, doesn’t mean that these things will go away, it simply means that I can have peace with it. “Here is a new heart, and a new spirit, and in them new light and life, new affections and desires, new delights and joys; here are new eyes to see with, new ears to hear with, new feet to walk, and new hands to work and act with…”–Gill’s exposition. Of course there’s some further understanding of this as it pertains to “living in Christ” and I encourage you to read about this and more. Continued readings can be found at BibleHub.com.

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Everyday I interact with students who are reinventing themselves. Many struggle with leaving who they were behind and can’t embrace who they are becoming. It is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight and you have to find some humility in the learning methodology. For some it happens quickly, for others it takes awhile. Yet sadly, I watch still others who never seem to put the effort into what it takes for this kind of growth. I teach the portfolio class for illustrators and designers during their last semester of Nossi College of Art. It is the most rewarding part of my job to see how these students overcame their fears and found confidence to start a new life as a creative professional. It reminds me of how the “student mentality” can achieve great things. We must all carry this same perspective if we are to be successful in life, in faith…in hope.

So, today I can apply this truth to my profession–my willingness to learn and teach others, my relationships, my responsibilities and obedience in Christ, and even how I value myself. I’m leaving 2013 behind and focusing on what 2014 may bring and that’s exciting and adventurous!  I’m supper pumped about starting off this new year! My hope is to embrace this truth and run, not walk, into 2014.

ChameleonCreativity is communication. Plain and simple. From the time cavemen painted on cave walls humans have been communicating to each other through the things we create. Try creating something without desiring a response and see what I mean. Better yet, create without the desired response and consider it even more.

Today’s graphic designers and art directors are faced with understanding how to communicate creatively in a world that has evolved through technology – allowing for cross-culture messaging in an array of new media vehicles. If there ever was a time to break down the walls of stereotyping, prejudices and empathetic sincerity it is now. Recently, AIGA and Adobe partnered to define the designer of tomorrow, specifically within the next two years. Their findings, through several years of research, are six major trends that will shape the designers of tomorrow. Basically, the development of visual, verbal and visceral communication is much deeper than mere design.

As an educator to college design students, the biggest challenge I face is convincing young creatives to abandon creative trends and develop a clear understanding of deeper communication strategies. “They must understand the social sciences and humanities in order to understand the content they are asked to communicate and they must understand how to work collaboratively with other knowledge and practice specialists.” – AIGA, Designer of 2015 Trends

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A chameleon blends in, finds safety in looking like its environment and doesn’t attract any attention. Finding the “unique” in design is nothing new. So slaying that Chameleon has been put to rest. However, in terms of today’s communication channels, jumping on the latest technologies designed for short attention spans and redundancy of content can be catastrophic to design without considering how to narrow your audience, design within a believable context, customize messaging that aligns with other social conversations and relying on engagement strategies based on cultural realities. In other words, media complacency has watered down creative executions and messaging into a pool of swirling color. Slaying that chameleon will take a deeper knowledge in design thinking than ever before.

Educators are speeding to offer the latest software and technology training without teaching the bigger understanding of how to use these new medias in a unique way. Just having an “app for that” is no longer the goal. Recommending creative solutions with these new resources, including possible considerations to product evolvement by designers, will be the key to success. Tackling creative issues within a bigger perspective outside the designer’s capabilities will now become their responsibility.

Just because a new technology is available to a designer’s creative strategic tool belt, doesn’t make it necessary. Discerning between what’s needed and what is not will be key. However, when it comes to today’s new design education practices, understanding the skills within these new capabilities will be imperative. For example: the creative development of print and e-medias will be essential to tomorrow’s designer. The creation of visual content is completely different with each user. Furthermore, adopting a “student mentality” will be the norm. Meaning, self-growth in continued education, wether on your own or within the confines of an educational institution, will be necessary to maintain continued success. In a recent article by Katia Colucci with The International Council of Communication Design, she states, “According to some experts the current half-life of personal knowledge is five years. In other words, in five years, half of our personal knowledge will be outdated. This means that to be competitive in future professional environments, we need to renew our knowledge by investing in continuous education.”

Slaying the creative chameleon has always been the challenge of graphic artists. Being unique and standing out from your surroundings is heresy to the existance of the chameleon. In contrast, it is essential to the survival of the designer. The term “cliche’ “ will now be applied to new technologies and how we use them to communicate in a transparent world.

To find out more about the future of graphic design, visit AIGA, AdobeThe Bureau of Labor Statistics or contact Bruce Stanley, Graphic Design Coordinator, Nossi College of Art.

SignupIn a world of “sign-ups”, it’s easy to disregard things we’ve already committed to. We rationalize why we had good intentions, but how life is crazy and things come up that keep us from fulfilling our obligations. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “making the reservation is the easy part. Anyone can make a reservation. Now, keeping the reservation…that’s the important part.” Seriously though, I feel this act of justified thinking is what’s tearing apart the fabric of social altruism.

And then there’s the difference between “showing up” and SHOWING UP. There’s a big disparity between physically present and actually being present. Some of us think we’re pretty good at faking this, but we aren’t really fooling anyone. It’s the polarity of selfish and selfless action that either contributes to the status quo or to change.

Time is precious. And that’s not a cliche’. It’s just the truth. So when it comes to committing to something, I’m hesitant to say yes. I think most of us are like this. We are all so busy doing our daily grind that we just can’t fit anything else in. But what if the talents and skills that we have and do so well could be put to better use? Say, the selfless concern for the well being of others.

The irony here is that getting involved in this way would actually bring purpose to my life. A real reason to why I’ve worked so hard to achieve success. To be able to help someone, something, some anything! Looking back, I think I’ve missed way to many opportunities like this. Life has a way of making us all selfish. There’s just not enough time to help everybody so I help no one…except myself.

Enter Designathon, 2010. A brainchild of Ian Rhet, founder of GeekforGood.net and Jessica Murray, founder of Nashville Social Media Club.

Designathon 2010

Their idea was to bring together creative professionals (geeks) for a common good for the city of Nashville. A way to give back to the city we love by volunteering our talents during a twenty four hour event for one needy non-profit. All they asked – sign up and show up. Physically. Mentally. Heartfully.

They asked me to join them as the Creative Director for the event. It was good timing too. I had just left my last job as the CD of a Nashville ad agency, and I was rethinking my whole career. After fifteen years in advertising I was already burned out and desperately needing creative inspiration. I had no idea what I was walking into. Honestly, I don’t think any of us did.

I’ve been involved in many crowd-sourcing events before. Mostly driven by egos, recognition and an attempt at attracting “real” clients post the event. Being physically, mentally and heartfully present wasn’t a requirement. Just follow the process, get the work done and go home.

Calling all

We recruited over thirty volunteers ranging from copywriters, graphic designers, web developers, marketing strategists, social media geeks and PR folk. The non-profit was a start-up to help stop generational incarceration. No name, no brand, no nothing but the passion of an ex convict who personally saw a need and wanted to desperately do something about it. Twenty four hours later a brand was born – Youth Turns. Complete with an estimated $80k worth of marketing deliverables. They had all they needed to start getting awareness, communicate with others about their mission, recruit volunteers, and get funding. The best part was they now had over thirty brand ambassadors to boot. People who signed up , showed up and by the end of twenty four hours, became a coalition of volunteers who found purpose in their lives. Helping others.

We realized we had created something special so we did it again in 2011 for Safe Haven, a refuge for homeless families in Nashville trying to get off the street and reestablished in society. Again, we achieved the same result. A different group of volunteers but the same result. Happy non-profit, happy volunteer hearts.

So when Ian asked me if I was up for it again in April, 2013, I didn’t hesitate. This time it was for a bigger challenge – helping the Tennessee Literacy Coalition (TLC), a state wide organization located in Nashville, trying to change the course of illiteracy for the entire state. July 13-14 was the date held for the third annual Designathon and again, the same result.

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TN working 1TN working 2I’m still amazed at the amount of work that is accomplished in that twenty four hours. For TLC: A much needed updated website including SEO capabilities, the ablitiy to measure analytics, share content and most importantly, how to cultivate volunteers, donors and help learners find providers; PSA’s for tv, radio and outdoor ads; four testimonial videos; a blog site with enough sharable content for a month; marketing strategy; social media campaign, strategy and training; corporate giving collateral; press releases; news coverage; and once more, over thirty new brand ambassadors – geeks for good. Here are just a few examples of the work we did for TLC. To see the entire list, see here.

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I could go on and on about the benefits of this event and how I’ve personally witnessed the result of people selflessly giving up their time and talents to help others. I truly believe that the desire in our hearts to extend a helping hand to those in need was planted by our creator. And It’s my faith and trust in God and his call to us to help those in need that should be the only rationalization I need to sign-up and show-up.

My only wish is that Designathon could somehow be duplicated, multiplied and extended to the rest of the world. I guess that’s the basis of writing this blog. To hopefully inspire others to a new understanding of why we should be present for the things we should prioritize in our lives. Helping others.

Here are just a few of the heroes that were brave enough to take that leap of faith and signed-up to be part of something bigger than themselves. I’m proud to say that I know these folks – all twenty fours hours of them.

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Personal growth

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The title of this post sums up what many creatives today are feeling–their careers are being challenged by the unrealistic pace of technology and the ability to keep up. Having worked in the advertising industry for 18 years, I graduated college with a BFA majoring in graphic design. At that time, Apple was becoming the industry standard for designers and Adobe was just getting started as the go-to software company. My classmates and I were learning the very first versions of Photoshop, Illustrator and, Quark Express (not an Adobe product), because InDesign didn’t exist and its predecessor, Pagemaker, was a weak competitor. To give today’s designers a clue of what I’m talking about, Photoshop hadn’t even introduced layers yet.

Skip forward 10 years, 2005, the iPhone still had two more years before it’s introduction and websites were still considered untraditional media. Everything was mostly print and a designer’s life was moving at realistic pace. Learning new trends and adapting to software changes are part of a graphic designer’s job. However, today’s changing pace has tripled since the two generations prior. What use to take 10 years to radically change the industry and advertising media platforms, now takes 2-3 years.

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Since the introduction of the iPhone and it’s multi-touch screen, 6 years ago, and the iPad, 3 years ago this April, we have seen a dramatic shift in how consumers access information and how they engage with advertising. Terms like engagement strategies, mobile, interactive and integration now fill the brainstorming rooms of many ad agencies and now even classrooms within college environments.

So what does all this mean? What’s my point? Because what I’m saying isn’t news to anyone. And mostly to those I’m addressing–graphic designers, art directors and creatives alike. Well, it means that we are going to start seeing people infiltrate our industry that may not have had that much experience nor traditional training. However, they are use to the pace of change and will typically be more comfortable with the technology as a user. Their expectation of an ever changing world will be more aligned with the pace of the industry. Watch out old schoolers!

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Key take aways:

1. Be honest about your current capabilities. Are they up to par? Or better, are they above par?

2. Make a plan to adjust your capabilities based on your honest answer to the above question. A failure to plan is a plan to fail. Set goals that will help you accomplish your new growth.

3. Create a list of possible scenarios that will help to accomplish meeting these goals. For example:

     a. Workshops, seminars, conventions, or summits

     b. Online/offline learning – tutorials, textbooks, etc.

     c. Take some night classes at a local art college that will help you be more marketable (this might be dependent upon where your honest answer lies to your current capabilities.

4. Take the necessary steps (commit) to personally growing yourself to reach your desired goals.

5. Repeat steps 1-4. Let’s face it, this is your career and it will require ongoing personal growth. It will continue at a faster pace and will increase in the future.

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As the Graphic Design Coordinator of a local art college here in Nashville, Nossi College of Art, I am very aware of these changes and the challenge to not only change curriculum to meet the industry demands, but to find quality instructors who are capable of teaching our students. Even accreditation standards are having to reinvent how they look at qualified professors/instructors coming into the education system.

When I attended college in the early 90’s, the only real focus was creativity. I didn’t have many instructional courses that centered on learning technology. Today, there are just as many instruction courses within our curriculum as there are courses that utilize learning towards application and strategic execution. Of course, there will always be, and for good reason, the fundamentals of design, color, composition, and the history of art to be reckoned with as a young creative student. However, today’s graduating credit hours are packed with technical learning that almost trumps creativity. Creativity will always be the priority of the college in which I am an educator. The day this becomes obsolete will be the day I resign as a teacher of design. And I think I share this concern with many others in the education business.

So, what’s the good news? It’s that we now have an array of new opportunities to be clever, consistent and transparent (real) in design thinking and communicating a brand’s message in unique ways. Grass roots is being replaced with gorilla and multi-media is being replaced with media channels or integrated campaigns. And a campaign’s length is now much shorter and its name is being replaced with words like experiment and beta testing.

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This is very exciting times for creatives. Students are now teaching instructors new ways of interacting with the technology they have been using since childhood. Which makes for some very engaging classroom learning situations where students feel it’s less of a structured learning environment then a shared learning experience based on relevance. To think that my 3 year old grandson will probably never play a CD or DVD and will never use a “land line” telephone are becoming real. Wait, did I say, “land line”? Replace that with keyboard.

As a designer, being challenged at a faster rate falls in line with what should be our motivation for new thinking and adaptability to what gets us excited–the changing ways to create and communicate. This does come with a price. However, the name of it isn’t anything new. It’s called personal growth. How we define this term is however new. Personal growth may have been something you did occasionally within your workweek. And to some, this is still something they don’t do or, unfortunately, their company doesn’t aspire to. Today, personal growth will become a much more robust ingredient to business culture. Workshops, seminars, conventions, which are seeing huge industry growth, and, yes, even going back to school, will be the new standard.

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At Nossi College of Art, we introduced one of the first Interactive Graphic Design programs as a two year associates degree. And if you are a returning student, you already have a degree in this field of study and you can apply existing credit hours to fundamental learning, you can earn that degree in less time. We are seeing adult professionals coming back to school to invest in their careers either on their own or with the encouragement by their current company. With flexible night courses they don’t even have to leave their current employer. We even allow our alumni to return and retake courses with new technical learning for FREE! The college also invests in other shorter term commitments, like a new 6 week social media sympossium offered this spring to the Nashville community. Including well known industry leading professional speakers each week.

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It is exciting times we live in. Fear can kill any new endeavor, especially a creative one. The key is wether you are continually investing in your personal growth as a designer with the pace of the industry, which is totally based on the increased speed of technology that consumers are engageing. Don’t get left behind. Your talents are still valuable. How you use them, based on new technologies, will be the new standard.

Courageously Creative

December 4, 2012

Courage

So if fear kills creativity, then what must we possess to get past it? As a teacher of creativity, I see everyday this dilemma with students. Building confidence takes time, however we can have courage to move forward, taking risks even in the face of possible failure. The benefits are: we continue to grow our creative abilities; gain experiences through these awkward circumstances; develop processes that we can trust. That said it’s always healthy to be a little afraid or intimidated with every creative endeavor.

Being humble is the first step. In fact understanding this leads to parallels with other self help programs. Having a willingness to learn, asking for help or to seek outside influence can be the difference between being left behind or evolving with the flow of the creative world. These compared with the three benefits outlined above will be the path to success in overcoming fear and finding courage to be at our creative best.

As with any challenge that we strive to pursue, there is an opportunity for growth. Early in the learning process we face hurdles in process, technique and the mechanics of software education in today’s digital creative world. These fundamentals will be a huge asset to anyone that continues to take risks and tries to achieve new skills and abilities.

The cliché’ “once bit twice shy” comes to mind when referring to the second benefit of taking risks and just taking action in the midst of fear. If we are to move past fearful execution, then we need to achieve familiar experiences that provide more comfortable situations. Each experience will help us the next time we approach either the same circumstance or a new one. Building confidence to overcome our fear by past successes in the same situation.

Lastly, the place we want to end up after taking risks and dealing with fear is a new confidence and trust in our capabilities. Newly learned skills and experiences will have an impact on how we feel about our ability to succeed in the face of fear. The knowledge that a familiar process, many times proving successful, can safely guide us through unfamiliar territory. What was once frightening is now just part of the cultivation of new ideas and creative opportunities.

Once we are comfortable to collaborate, share strengths with other creatives, not to mention being influenced by others that we can learn from in our industry, our humility transforms into an attitude of gratitude and appreciation for scary challenges that we have learned are actually an opportunity for beneficial growth. If we can embrace that fear, combined with confidence in sound practices, is just part of something better to come. We can then be more comfortable with our own creative talents, strengths and passion and be of great value to others earlier on in the courageously creative learning process.

Here is an interesting infographic that showcases the “10 doubting thoughts that can cripple creativity”

Recently I was asked by a college student finishing graduate school to answer a few questions about my creative education, career path and what creativity means to me, specifically as it relates to advertising and industry change. His interest and trust in me was prompted by an RT on Twitte from a post I made – “Don’t be afraid”.



I’m always happy to help out young people aspiring to grow their creative interests and enter the world of advertising. There’s a couple of reasons I do this: to remind myself why I love being a Creative Director in advertising and to be challenged by new perspectives from those leaning new solutions to old ideas.

The following is my response to this student:

First let me say that I appreciate your initiative to take responsibility for your creative destiny. Many people don’t take ownership in their personal/professional growth. It is the only place to start, continue and never finish. I will do my best to answer these questions and provide further reading from others who are scholars and people I trust with my personal development – mentors. On that last note, here are some authors you should follow and books I have read, each teach either leadership philosophy or creative guidance – all with the understanding of how taking risks and embracing failure will get you past the ceiling that most people hit and stay:

Talent Is Never Enough: Discover the Choices That Will Take You Beyond Your Talent
by John C. Maxwell
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
by Seth Godin
The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do
by Clotaire Rapaille
Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People (Hardcover)
By Marc Gobe
MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer
by Hillman Curtis

These books were inspirational to me and they cover everything from how to use and develop your talent, to understanding how you should be innovative and think differently. Some cover personal process and others explain how we should measure cultures to build strategies around them.

Ok, where to start? When students ask me where they should take their creative interests to be successful in their career I have to ask them a question. What is most important to you? Is it the degree or the ability to be great that you’re after? If you say the degree and that it will make you great, then you have some priority issues. Most think a degree is all they need and believe that process will make them creative, talented and great. Not true. An educational environment will only inspire and coach you to be great. Greatness comes from personal growth and creativity isn’t a talent, it’s an obligation.

The creative field you have chosen can grow you in ways that only you can achieve through experience and personal relationships (mentoring). Most industries can say they experience change rapidly, but I will say that when you are dealing with human behavior, culture and entertainment you can expect change at rate that is almost impossible to keep up with. That said, aside from the fundamentals, what you learn today in school will be mostly obsolete when you graduate. The reason: today we need design thinkers and strategic farmers based on human connection and culture alignment, not better artists.

Now to your questions:

How and why did you get into a creative field?

I went to college to study psychiatry and sociology. It wasn’t until my Sophomore year while taking a journalism class that someone said I should look at being an Advertising or Graphic Design major. Why? Because I was creative and was fascinated with human behavior. It’s the last part that I never really learned in school but I knew advertising had to be all about that – the artistic thing I was kinda born with and the rest just happened due to others I studied from and constantly challenging myself to be better. I found mentors to learn from.

Did you attend a book school? If so, what school?

I went to a University. One that had a pretty good Advertising and Art program. MTSU – Middle Tennessee State University. I never attended a “book school”. Book schools push you to be good, but that ability comes from within and the desire to learn from others with others (collaboration). You can definitely benefit from a portfolio school but ONLY if you have the tenacity. These schools are rigorous and difficult. The best part about them is that they teach you to trust in your abilities and to not give up (the realization of your potential). This is very similar to boot camp in the military – you learn just how far you can push yourself without breaking. If you are not an artist by nature, these schools will not make you one. Believe me.

What’s the major characteristic(s) young and creatives alike lack they MUST learn?

Simple. Belief in yourself and the ability to grow…on your own. Meaning, you have to give a shit. You have to want to learn from others and surround yourself with people who are better than you. Always ask why and challenge yourself and others to better solutions to the same old problems. Communicating with human beings can be difficult to keep up with. You must embrace change. I’ll say that again, you must embrace change. It’s ok to say that what you learned two years ago doesn’t work anymore. Was it a waste? No, ’cause two years ago it worked. Jay-Z says, “On to the next thing.”

What have you heard about Miami Ad School San Francisco?

These schools have reputations for a reason. They have been farms for big agencies to cultivate from. They teach you how to keep pace and push yourself, to never give up and work hard, because that’s what big agencies need. I’m not saying they aren’t beneficial, they are, especially on a resume. But I have hired students from these schools and it’s funny, some are really talented and some aren’t. It’s your last question that they didn’t get.

I don’t think traditional media is dead, integration will save them. Thoughts?

It’s definitely not dead, we just have to find better ways to use them. You’re right about integration. People want transparency and they want consistency. And they want you to be everywhere they are. Traditional media has taken somewhat of a back seat lately due to the economy and profiteering. Media companies have been raking us for decades. When the economy dropped out, online media and other untraditional paths to communication took over because it was cheaper and easily measured, WITHOUT ratings and dependency on media buyers. This AND change happened. People aren’t in the same places they once were.

What is advertising to you?

Advertising to me is the ability to connect with people in an interesting way. Period. To better their lives or to act in a way that is beneficial to others. Meaning… to make a difference. In the end we are allowing others to look at culture and ourselves – to laugh and and be honest with how to communicate with each other. Lastly to help others enjoy and appreciate art and creativity. You’re probably asking, Where is the part about selling products and services? If you are doing all that other stuff right, that is automatic. Make someone’s life better or get them to trust and believe in you, then you can introduce product and service to them. Here’s the catch, today you have to be honest about it. YEAH!

I hope this was helpful. It’s tough to get it all in a short e-mail. I will say this one last thing. You control your destiny, not someone else or a school. These things can certainly help you, but only in the sense that you make the most of it and continue to push yourself past it. Growth should never stop.

–Bruce