1 Clients can either choose you or you can choose the client whose business you are passionate about. I’ve worked in the alcoholic drinks industry for 30 years, simply because I love the booze business.
2 Get the brief right – it is the benchmark by which your work is going to be judged. Ask the right questions, challenge the brief, rewrite if necessary and get it signed off by the decision-makers.
3 Discuss and debate the brief in the studio. It’s a great way to find creative routes to the solution to the problem and helps you get there quicker with clarity.
4 Have a big idea (you only need one). Designers tend to do their best work on the first three sheets of layout (yes, it’s paper).
5 Show great work and you will get great work throughout – show mediocre work and you’ll regret it, because the mantelpiece will remain empty of pencils.
6 The most demoralising aspect of our business is creative wastage, so sense-check your ideas with the team. If they don’t work, scrap them and move on. ‘Teamwork does not mean less work, just more productive work,’ says Will Rogers
7 Apply rigour to editing the work you show – it’s called confidence. Lots will end up on the cutting-room floor, but it will make the strong ones award-winners.
8 A pencil or thumbnail sketch can sell a big idea. Don’t use Mac cosmetic surgery.
9 If you’re not a great presenter (don’t wait until someone tells you), go on a presentation skills course. Normally these cost a lot of money, but are worth every penny to safeguard your creative reputation.
10 Have the courage of your convictions. Stand by your big idea. If you can describe an idea over the telephone with no visual, then it’s a great idea. Sell it, win awards, make money and be happy.