Mar 13, 2011

Ask WAS: Joker answer - Can I call myself an Art Director and... do all of us think we suck most of the time?

Q1: is it bad to call yourself an AD if you can’t design well or not an expert (yet) at the creative suite?

Ok, since I read Me and Restriction’s answer, let me offer you a different perspective, though I should confess that my initial reaction was to offer something along the lines of what they’re saying. But let’s see the question in a new light. You’re asking if it’s bad to call yourself an Art Director if you can’t design well. Quite honestly, it isn’t a bad thing if no one notices. Rather than simply take the high road, sometimes to have success in advertising you need to bullshit your way to the top. Does that mean that you should stop learning? Of course not. But calling yourself A or B isn’t necessarily a wrong thing… ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to get into someone’s pants.

But back to the righteous way… to be honest, calling yourself a full blown AD when you’re a junior is possibly asking to get bitten in the ass by the system. Simply put, if you say you’re an AD but your work looks like a junior designer, people will notice, and normally the end result blows. When you can create a full blown campaign, are able to respond to design demands and last minute requests while still preserving quality to a certain degree, then you’re not necessarily in AD territory, but you’re at least on the right path. Main recommendation though is to not shy away from any challenge and always look to improve your skills. If not for the benefit of your company or the client’s you’re working on, for your own benefit.

Q2: is it normal to sometimes think(or have a near anxiety attack) and say "shit, I suck at advertising, I have no good ideas, should I be doing this? Am I gonna get better? Am I kidding myself?" and sometime you think: "hey! I'm great! My ideas were the best in the room, I kick ass!!!" does that happen to you guys?
Not sure if this is a normal thing but it's definitely a crazy thing.

There are good days and bad days. Period. Your professional self esteem will rarely reflect your supposed reality or what people are thinking about your work. Restrictions said it aptly in the sense that a lot of agencies have a “No-this sucks-try again” attitude and there are a lot of shitty ad execs who consider themselves God’s gift to their agency, their client, advertising in general and the world at large.

And then there’s the good days where you nail it. And that’s where you gotta be careful. I lost count early on how many good ideas I had shot down. Ideas that to this day I think would have worked and my track record when they followed through on some suggestions proves that at the very least, it might have had a slight shot. But no… they shot it down, they frankenfucked it to no end and the end product really sucks. But the idea was good and you can’t forget that.

And yes, there are shit days no matter how long you’ve worked in advertising. You can get blocked on any given project and I’ve called and been called on countless occasions because sometimes we need the help, we need a fresh mind outside the agency trenches that isn’t exposed to the same stress.

It’s actually a lot more normal than you’d think, so don’t freak, take a breather, try and disconnect for half an hour and try again.


Mariam said...

Thank you joker for answering! I appreciate all you guys' answers.
One thing, when i asked the question I said: Can I call myself a Junior Art Director not straight up AD. That would be ridiculous if I call myself an AD lol why not a CD then! haha no. Just Junior AD. Ok design skill, more ideas/campiagn driven Jr AD, learning my ass off. :)

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