The Art Directors Club annual Portfolio Night is fast approaching—a “global portfolio and recruitment event” for young advertising creatives (or, in my experience, an evening of industry canoodling and general debauchery). The campaign surrounding this year’s event has aptly been titled “Blood, Sweat and Tears.” A theme any creative can no doubt relate to. 12 typographic executions have been created by 12 different designers, each reflecting a personal interpretation of the aforementioned phrase.
You were created to create. You relentlessly push through late night concepting sessions, days without sleep, untimely mental blocks, panic attacks, killed ideas, killed ideas and killed ideas. You celebrate the dark circles under your eyes, the paper cuts, the x-acto mishaps and the endless cups of coffee that go into trying, failing and trying again.
“Blood, Sweat and Tears” is a tribute to the countless hours, the sleepless nights, killed ideas, and endless ambition that’s baggage with being a young creative. To reflect this, ADC commissioned the likes of several young artists.
Young Gun award winners Alex Trochut, Chris Rubino, Jordan Metcalf, Marta Cerdà Alimbau, Max Kaplun, Oliver Munday, Owen Gildersleeve and Rich Tu all contributed artwork to the campaign. Their designs are joined alongside those of ADC members Jen Mussari, Kyle Wilkinson, Kyle Read, and Shauna Lynn. The following are my favourites, for either exceptional execution or really embodying the phrase “Blood, Sweat and Tears”:
Believe it or not, this isn’t a digital execution; what you’re looking at is actual dyed water. Trochut went about using Neverwet, that funky hydrophobic spray we’ve been spraying over our shoes, in order to get the result he was after. After settling on a design and applying a masked vinyl of it to sheet metal, he dropped some dyed water onto everything and photographed it. As Trochut demonstrates, experimentation is sometimes the key to better results.
“Like most things emblazoned on the backs of leather jackets, this phrase is a point of pride.” In my eyes, idea always trumps execution—that’s why Mussari’s design stuck out to me. Lucky for her, she has the chops to back up her concept, her resulting execution is the most badass of the bunch. The phrase is painted in oneShot Lettering enamel on a found leather jacket. In Mussari’s words, it’s a “nod to those who take the long, hard, stupid way around.” Thank you, Mussari, it’s not by coincidence that all my selections happen to as a result of toying with physical media.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Read’s execution is probably the most immersive of the bunch. Read went a traditional route, creating this graphite drawing on paper. Employing a labor-intensive mindset that is all too often forgotten in our digital world, he landed upon a beautiful result. Read goes on record, “with dozens of hours poured into it, I think this is exemplary of what “Blood, Sweat and Tears” means to me.” No doubt, Read understands the evening’s theme.
While ADC’s campaign is targeted towards advertising creatives, I believe it can serve as inspiration to anyone who strives for something they’re passionate about. Philosopher Alain de Botton once said, “there is no work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” It’s goals and ambitions that carry our lives forward, but there’s pride to be found in the process that leads to them. Accomplishments are fleeting; it’s the journey that consumes the bulk of our lives, it’s the journey that you should honour.
Portfolio Night will take place in cities across the world May 21st. Be sure to visit their website to find out more and properly check out all the commissioned works.