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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  The fine line between a portfolio that’s too “safe” and too “out there”?

The fine line between a portfolio that’s too “safe” and too “out there”?

Over the past two weeks I have been working with the advice a CD gave me and as well cultivating some new campaigns to help beef up my portfolio. Through this I have come across a reappearing question that I have yet to have answered. I have found that the number one advice CD’s give aspiring creatives is to take chances since it will be the last time in our careers to have absolute creative freedom. However I feel if I act too daringly I will be criticized for creating unrealistic campaigns. CDs always say a junior’s portfolio is outstanding if the work has the potential to run, but when we take chances and create “out-there” work it evidently is not created to run. I am trying to make the best portfolio I can. I want to come back to the CD at my dream agency and wow her with my work. I am definitely a risk taker yet I am not really sure what CDs mean when they say take chances and risks?
I am dying to make it as an Art Director and I am willing to put in the work to get there.
Eager Creative Freak

intro The fine line between a portfolio thats too safe and too out there?If that’s the recurring theme in CD feedback you’re hearing, maybe your book is erring on the “too responsible” side. Don’t misinterpret direction to take risks and “be daring” as “forget strategy, have fun.” Clever or funny or outrageous for its own sake makes for bad communications. No CD is really impressed by ideas that would never sell the product. Nor are they moved by strategically sound but bland. Your goal should be to create work that’s disruptive and prompts people to consider the brand; it’s got to cut through a ton of clutter and it’s got to be compelling.

Whether you’re just out of school or just out of your 10th year in the business, every good creative person should take “risk”. The real risk is blending in or boring people. If you’re in the middle of the road, you’re going to get run over.

“Creative freedom” is the spirit that needs to inform all your thinking. Now and always. The alternative is to start out in a box of some kind. Approach every project as a problem solver looking for a big, media neutral idea. Great ideas sell products and usually win awards too. The Gunn Report has proven that the world’s most heavily awarded work performs exceptionally well.

Too many clients and even creative people assume award-winning work is different than effective work. As you continue to upgrade your book, strive for highly creative solutions that are rock solid strategically. Deliver on that and you can’t fail.

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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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