I think most creatives can relate to being a little lost at the start of their careers - not knowing what agencies or studios exist, who's doing what work, or even where to ask for help, it can be very overwhelming.
After some negative experiences starting my own career, I decided I could help other people by running the portfolio review event I wished I'd had. Hence, Portfolio Review Night ran for the first time in 2014.
Each year brings new learning and insight into what young creatives need and how I can help them succeed in their careers. I consistently have 60+ students and dozens of reviewers join me every year for this event.
I create a new ad campaign and design direction to promote the event every year. This page showcases the work done for the 2019 event, the fourth iteration of PRN.
Portfolio Review Night is a mouthful, and I wanted to create a logo that would be simple and concise visually - I didn't need or want to deal with something complex or with a lot of detail. At the same time, the acronym PRN doesn't communicate enough by itself, so I had to create a logo with the full name in it, even though it's long.
Ultimately I settled on a book motif. Though today's design portfolios are almost exclusively online, I thought it would be nice to reference the history of presenting work (print is still a good medium for showing work even in this modern age) and the french linguistic roots of the word portfolio (from port and feuille, meaning "carry sheets of paper").
PRN is for graphic designers, art directors, illustrators, and copywriters. All of those kinds of portfolios can be quite different, and the book visual helps unite all these disparate things, and remove any confusion as to who this event is for.
Every year I create a new visual design and campaign look for the event. For PRN4, I decided to emphasize inspirational and supportive messages that students would connect with. This was based on my observations from past years and what students would say to me directly at events: that the event gave them a lot more confidence in their work and job hunts, and how helpful networking in this manner is.
I wrote a series of phrases to speak plainly to anybody thinking of attending, making clear that I understand what it's like to be at the start of a creative career and how scary and frustrating it can be.
The visuals paired with it - the bright colour gradients and stars - added a layer of excitement to these very direct messages. For all the stress and uncertainty, starting your career is also a very exciting time when the possibilities seem endless and you're eager to make your mark. I wanted to let people know that they'd find that same excitement at PRN, and myself and the reviewers would champion them and help them move forward.
Even if you've been working in the industry for years, that exciting "anything could happen" feeling never fully disppears. Eager young creatives are among kindred spirits at PRN.
Each year I design and print note cards for the students to use throughout the day. Not only does this give them a little branded piece to take home, and make part of their sign in process a little nicer (they get to pick up a welcome package) it encourages and reminds students that they've got to write down all the advice they receive - you can't remember everything!
Little touches on the welcome packages for students and thank you gifts bags for the reviewers go a long way.
The theme of this year's design was supportive messages, so I created a series of posters within the style established to motivate students to complete their portfolios and share them at the event, and let them know there is a place to find help with their careers.
PRN students attend three portfolio reviews and two discussion panels from creative professionals.
I created a series of social posts and social ads to promote the event. Based on the overall design, I used photos from previous years to show what it'd be like for students to meet reviewers, and establish a happy, upbeat tone.
I also animated a few ads for use in Instagram stories and newsfeed.