Check out some great work from Feh Tarty.
FT: A student book is like couture advertising. You know what I mean?
WS: No. I don’t.
FT: If you look at a fashion show, it’s not necessarily things that are completely ready to wear, but it’s a way of thinking. Of how to break the mold of what is normally out there or what you expect people to see. I think when students try to continue to take on real projects and make it seem real, they sort of lose their sense of creativity. Because school is the last chance you have for years, until you get some experience under your belt, to create something that’s just a full-on expression of how you think. Advertising should be, design should be, or whatever it is you’re into, should be like that. And so, in a book, you just look for new ways of thinking and how they push ideas, because that’s what it’s all about before you get hit with the reality.
WS: So make it conceptual…don’t try and make it really realistic?
FT: Yeah, you want to get a sense of it being realistic but it’s like…the ideas that a client would have to be really brave to buy. Still responsible in their thinking, but it requires a sort of bravery.
[ ... ]
WS: What do you think about putting things in your book that aren’t ads?
FT: You should showcase who you are. How you think. And at some point you’re going to tap into that. You’re going to have to because I think at some point, when you’re creating your work, there’s a piece of you in it. I remember when I was in school one of my professors was like, “You can’t have a style. Because you have to make sure it’s for the brand.” Yeah, true, but I think you can end up with a style in the way you do things. You evolve your style. You evolve the way you think all the time. But I think that there’s a certain thing that people do well and that’s because they have certain resources, or certain talents, from other things that they pull in. There are writers who will never be able to write the way Pat [Feh’s copywriter at the time] writes. And there’s some writers he can never write like. You know what I mean?
And then the style: the agency can have a brand, but you have all these people to pull from. Like, “Oh this person’s really great at that, and they used to do this.” So you kind of need to know that when you get assignments because it’s like you get to channel other things. So it just makes the job more exciting and more fun when you can do something that you’re passionate about. An assignment might call for writing a book, and if you love doing that, then do it.