Narrowing down the options

By Jesse Sharp-O’Hare


Narrowing down the options

Half term is upon us, and the drive to D&AD has begun in earnest. Staring at all these briefs at the start of the week, it’s felt like a mix of excitement and trepidation. Halfway like being a kid in a candy shop, and halfway like a fat man about to start an assault course. 

As everyone starts to chip away and narrow down, I thought I’d like to reflect on what it’s been like to weigh up the options. Most of the briefs seem to be fairly open which proved fairly intimidating, but we plow on regardless.

One of the first things I thought about when trying to narrow down these briefs were our mentors. Whose expertise matches which brief? Who just happens to have a passion for open banking? This is something I need to find out better, and while some may be obvious (Vikki knows tone of voice like no other, so probably will be great help for Amazon Fresh, while Ian can spot a sans-serif from two hundred paces, so should have lots of expertise on Monotype) others may be less so. Questions questions questions.

The second thing is our own expertise. The studio’s chock-full of talent, but obviously everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and knowing which is which will be vital to picking the right brief. Although it did sound like a lot of fun, I don’t think I could design a board game particularly well, nor could I make a website. Importantly, we’re duking it out with pretty much every ad school on the planet, and so playing to our strengths is probably the best way of winning, even if a particular brief might not thrill you quite as much. Some of these design or UX schools are going to be masters of their own craft, and so it’s going to be doubly hard (and doubly impressive) if anyone manages to beat them at their own game. Although if I was going to put my money on anyone, it would probably be one of you lot.

This is all sounding like a bit of a logical and grey way to look at it, so lastly (and definitely not leastly) remember the right brief has to thrill you (a bit). We’ve got just over three weeks left and if it’s two briefs you’re doing, then that’s a whole lot of hours spent thinking, scamping and crafting. Winning a pencil might seem like the end of the journey, but getting there will be a lot easier if you enjoy the ride.

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