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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  How much AD knowledge do I need to be a CW?

How much AD knowledge do I need to be a CW?

I am a junior in college and wish to become a copywriter. With no experience in graphic design how do I go about creating a solid portfolio? I don’t even know how I should begin putting my ideas onto a computer.
What advice would you have for me? Also keep in mind I can’t afford to attend an AD school after I complete my undergrad.

intro How much AD knowledge do I need to be a CW?So what you’re saying is, your remaining time in your current school is the window you have to become a copywriter. As long as you can switch majors and get into a good program for copywriting already in place at your school, that could work. Nancy had the revelation to go into the communications program at the University of Delaware (in her case, to become an art director) at the same point in time as you in her education. But she found she wanted to take an additional year rather than jam the whole program into 2 years.

Copywriters don’t need the computer skills of a designer or art director. The more basic question is, how are you going to learn to be a writer? And if your school doesn’t have a good program, are you prepared to transfer to another school that does? You have some homework to do to make a good choice. There are many schools now with programs for copywriters—relatively new, as the industry didn’t used to expect writers to have training that’s always been mandatory for art directors. Today you will need that formal education most likely, to be competitive with the many who have that benefit. You might want to look at the site of a top school to see what their curriculum looks like, then compare to what your school has in place. The Academy of Art in San Fransisco is such a place, VCU Adcenter, Miami Ad School, Creative Circus in Atlanta. Know how high “up” is as you decide what to do.

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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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