I remember not long after I opened our Belfast office in 1996 getting up very early one Sunday morning, after a restless nights sleep, and going to the local newsagent to buy the leading local Sunday paper. We had about half a dozen client ads in it, including our first ever full page in ROP. I was terrified, excited and proud. This was long before even ISDN transfers were commonplace far less hi-res PDFs being pinged around the stratosphere. The ad needed to be printed onto ‘bromide’ at a specialist repro house then I hand delivered it late on Friday night, well after copy deadline. I had the nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach all weekend that it would be misplaced or sit in the security guards room all weekend forgotten about. In the event it appeared, resplendent, I couldn’t take my eyes off it, I didn’t even turn to the sport on the walk home it was so beautiful.
Hayley Robertson felt like this last week; and it’s a great feeling. She saw her first real live ‘advertisement’ appear. Hayley was a student at the Metropolitan College last year and her entry was the winner in our annual student competition. We started the competition 4 or 5 years ago now in an attempt to expose graphic design students to the reality of design for advertising. A lot of the graduates who were approaching us had portfolios packed with lovely images but little in the way of work that reflected the skills required for the industry they were trying to enter. So we decided to try and do something about that and the competition was born. Each year, during the last semester for the final year graphic design students, we present them with a real brief from a real client. They can question the account director and the creative director during the briefing then they are on their own. We come back a couple of weeks later with the client and review the work they produce and a winner is chosen. There is a small prize for the top three entries and the overall winner is invited into our studio for work experience that summer. This is always welcome however the real prize is seeing their design, printed and posted on a 48 sheet poster in one of the busiest streets in Glasgow. It’s a win/win competition for all involved. The students get the chance to work on something ‘real’, our client gets a free poster on a prime location and we get to meet and see some of the best graphics students the city is producing first hand. This year’s winner was 19 year old Hayley Robertson, we had the pleasure of her company for a few weeks during the summer and she rolled up to Crow Road last week to have her photograph taken with her wining poster. She was terrified, excited and, I think, proud, she should have been at least.
Advertising can, at times, be a very cynical business, we all know some old, and some not so old, practitioners who have become jaded and distrustful. Many of us don’t feel the fear, excitement and pride often enough these days, that’s a shame, it is after all what brought us into this industry in the first place; and lie-ins on Sunday mornings are really just a waste of time anyway! Congratulations Hayley and well done to all who entered. If you want to see her winning entry you can view it on Facebook by clicking here.