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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Advertising AD vs. graphic design AD

Advertising AD vs. graphic design AD

I hope you can help me. I am a 31 year old full-time student at FIDM in Los Angeles and I’m trying to figure out if I should change my major, which as of now is Visual Communications. I have some questions and was referred to you by Jean Coyne from Communication Arts. So here goes…what is the difference between an art director in graphic design and an advertising art director? Do I have to have a degree as a graphic designer to be able to work in an advertising agency? How do I find advertising agencies in Los Angeles? I worked in a graphic design company about 9 years ago in Montreal and I never though that it could be a career. I guess sometimes later is better than nothing…

intro Advertising AD vs. graphic design ADFirst of all Jancy is glad to learn we’re on Jean Coyne’s radar. On to you. It’s common for advertising art directors to start out on a design path–Nancy went to the University of Delaware, where towards the end of her time there she had to decide which fork in the road to take, advertising or design. Obviously the skills between advertising and design art directors overlap, but the two disciplines are quite different. Very different kinds of problems to solve. Normally one becomes good at one or the other, and it can be quite challenging to switch teams later. Within the Ogilvy network we’ve seen an outstanding new entity emerge that is called the Brand Integration Group (BIG). Headed up in the New York Ogilvy office by superstar Brian Collins and Judd Harner, this group of some of the best designers in the U.S. has become the hub of Ogilvy’s “360 degree” approach to problem solving. This group understands advertising in a way not normally seen in a design context and they bring a much more holistic view of communications to the table. They’ve had a ton of attention for their outstanding efforts. Google Brian for a start to see what we mean. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles BIG now exists within Ogilvy. You may find it very enlightening to contact someone there (310)280-2200 who will be conversant on both advertising and design, the differences between the experiences and the interesting application of both within their model. You might also try contacting the woman that originally started the Ogilvy LA BIG group, now on her own: Rebeca Mendez (Rebeca Mendez Communication Design). She’s also a professor at UCLA in the department of Design/Media Arts. For an advertising creative director’s perspective you can try the excellent Dan Burrier at Ogilvy LA. at the number above. Good luck sorting it all out. You’ll certainly have a much better picture of the landscape if you can manage to sit down with any of these people. (See Jancy archives for tips on how to get in to see hard to see people.)

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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