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Ad School Profile: Complot

Posted on December 10, 2007 and read 3,124 times

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In an artsy corner of Barcelona, which is one of Europe’s most beautiful and in my opinion its most creative city, lies Complot, the ad school “for creatives by creatives”.

You can’t talk about the school without first talking about Barcelona. I personally lived there for a year, and it’s without a doubt one of those cities like New York, Amsterdam, and London that simply discharges some strange form of creative electricity in its inhabitants. Go get your bread and some wine and the artwork of Dali, Miró, and of course Gaudi will all likely get in your way in the city in some way or another. Barcelona is also an an international hub ideal for anyone wanting to spend a few months or years of your life studying or working. It’s plain and simply incredible.

Founded in 2005 by two incredibly energetic former creative directors from Argentina, Dan Peisajovich and Yvonne Gindre, the school has become in only 3 years without a doubt the most creative and award winning portfolio school in Barcelona and perhaps Spain. Last year they were the most awarded Ibero-American school in the 2006 Drac Novell Awards, one of the biggest shows in the spanish world. They won in 16 of the 24 available categories.

Complot is housed in an rustic massive old factory. When I first saw last year I debated whether the space was ‘industrial’ or if it was simply was an old factory, but now the entire area has been refurbished with glass rooms and modern comfy furniture all around. It’s really cool and it’s not far from looking like what most agencies want to look like. There are several classrooms and plenty of comfy sofas to plop and surf the web in.

You won’t be given grades nor be subjected to exams and pop quizzes when you study at Complot, and when you leave you won’t even be given a diploma of any kind, but hey anyone that works in advertising knows that in advertising it doesn’t matter if you came out of Harvard or out of a manhole — it’s all about the book. And the book is all that you’ll work on while you’re at Complot. In Spain, where most of the universities and colleges offer extremely technical and long careers in archaic careers such as “Theory of Mass Communication”, Complot offers a nice alternative for those who simply want to be an art director or a copywriter in mainstream agency. A lot of the students at Complot have of course, already been through University careers and are testing the water of advertising of which approximately 80% will actually end up doing internships in agencies with the help of the school upon graduation.

The classes are small and extremely hands-on. I remember being in school when I was studying art direction and going through classes of “Psychology” and “Colour Theory” that I found to be bull, just another excuse to take money and time away from me. Well, at Complot you basically skip all this and go to the last three months, the ones were you only work on your book. The approach is very intensive, but I have to agree that when it comes to portfolio.

Complot not only looks like an agency, it also tries to bring the agency to the students. The majority of the teachers are agency professionals— working senior creatives or creative directors with a passion for teaching. Anyone that has been to an ad school knows it can be frustrating being taught by someone who last worked in an agency when radio was king and the best ads on TV featured animated tigers or giant talking pitchers of Kool-Aid. It’s nice knowing that before going to teach you advertising, all these teachers were actually doing pitches, sketches, thumbnails, animatics, and doing presentations to tough clients.

In addition to the regular profs, every 15 days the school houses a speaker series, to which I even was invited to speak once. Students are not just exposed to top creative directors from Barcelona, but directors, designers, photographers and artists. Anybody that can help expand the mind and horizon of these students is invited.

You won’t spend 5 years getting through this school since courses last a maximum of 3 months. However, some people may chose to do several courses to get a more complete education. Options for this include “Portfolio Creativity”, “Creative Copywriting”, “New Media”, and “Art Direction”. Can’t convince your parents to send you here to become a crazy creative? Don’t worry Complot has a special fake website to a more “Uni-friendly” picture of a school.

The energy of the school is incredible. In 2007 Complot hosted ihaveanidea’s Portfolio Night 5 in Barcelona and needless to say it was probably the best Portfolio Night I had ever attended in all these years. The juniors were incredible and the creative directors, many of whom flew in from Madrid just for Portfolio Night stayed in good spanish fashion until the wee hours of the morning. I left at 3am and people were still there drinking, eating and being merry.

However, don’t pack your bags yet, you’ll need to be fluent in Spanish to attend and “Otra cerveza por favor” might not cut it.

Ignacio Oreamuno




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