Don’t rely on other people to make things happen for you, or for the work to land on your plate. Make it happen: walk the walk, don’t talk the talk. If you like magazines, create a magazine with a friend. If you want to land an advertising campaign for a major client, do one yourself and show it to other people. Tell stories, let people into what you’re doing, what you’re about and what it is that you want to be. Potential clients will come to you because they understand where you’re coming from and what you’re capable of.
If you want to get into an area of business or do a particular project, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from doing it. Don’t rely on someone else handing it to you – just do it. That way, you give art directors the easiest opportunity possible to say: “Oh, I can hire them to do that. Look, they’ve already done a successful job of it.”
It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘real’ or not. There’s no such thing as a make-believe project. It all comes down to the results you get and the story behind it. I’ve never witnessed anyone saying: “Well, that isn’t a real project,” or: “That’s not a valid thing”. People see something awesome and they want to hire you to do it.
After six months of thinking I was going to get a design job, I went out and knocked on the doors of design studios instead of waiting for them to put up an advert. I introduced myself and said: “I can help you in the future if you want.” I wanted to do an advertising campaign around cars, so I just did one – and three weeks later, I had a commission from Mercedes to do a mail-out. A project you can put a bit of yourself into and use to show people what you’re about is the best piece of promotion you can use.