Creative Bites: Kevin Lynch

02: creative bites, creative bites

KEVIN LYNCH

EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR
ENERGY BBDO
CHICAGO HOST
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What was the reaction you got from your first portfolio?
“My first portfolio was horrific. My second one was equally bad. Come to think of it, I’m just now getting to be above average. The reaction I – and you – should be gunning for is this: Until someone refuses to return your book or leave your site or let you leave their office until they figure out a way to hire you RIGHT NOW, your book isn’t good enough.”

Are portfolio schools doing a great job?
“Last week, I interviewed someone fresh out of a portfolio school, and their work was made up mostly of print ads. Apparently, students at that school are told that if an idea could be made into a print ad, it could be made into anything else. (For the record, the previous sentence was not a joke.) I think print ads made a good litmus test in the late 1800s. But ever since the advent of radio, the business has changed. Not all schools know that.”

Should you talk through your work or sit quietly as someone peruses your book?
“I’d encourage you to talk. Frequently, what you say shows us the way you think as much as what’s in your book. And frankly, that’s the advantage to you being at Portfolio Night to begin with. You’re here to let people get to know you. If we just wanted to see work, we’d click your link.”

How important is personality?
“At Proximity, we’ve had an opening in the creative department every day since I got there almost 3 years ago. Usually multiple openings, in fact. There are loads of talented folks out there. But it takes more than talent. It takes the perfect personality fit and emotional IQ. So yes, personality is rather important. (Before you hit Send on that email to me, I’d encourage you to go through our HR folks instead. Much as I try, my response rate to students sending their work has unfortunately taken a dive.)”

What’s the best piece of advice you can give?
“Go make something. Seriously. You are a generation of makers. (At least, the best of you are.) You have a broader skillset and knowledge base than previous generations. And when you don’t know how to do something, you learn how. Those are stellar qualities for this business. I would encourage you to make something so interesting, people know about you before they meet you. Go, make something. Now.”

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