A view from the bottom
A view from Hannah Williamson

A view from the bottom

Leaving university and entering the world of advertising is daunting for any graduate. I may have just finished my degree, but the hard work has only just begun. With exhibitions, placements and networking events, the past few months have been intense.

Being nominated for a Student Pencil meant I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity of a lifetime.

I was asked to attend the D&AD Graduate Academy along with my creative partner, Joanne Boyle.

The Trampery in Hackney, East London, became our home for two weeks, with people coming from as far as Ecuador and Australia to take part. Although I was excited to meet the faces behind some amazing work, I was apprehensive about how compe­titive it would be. But all those worries vanished within ten minutes – everyone was so happy to be there.

The academy gave us an opportunity to learn about the industry from an inside perspective. The talks and workshops had a theme of sustainability; it made me think differently about the way I do things. Thomas Kolster, the author of Goodvertising, got us to debate whether advertising was good or evil. We concluded that it would be a waste if we didn’t harness the power of advertising and design to make the world a better place.

It wasn’t all lectures and debates – we got our hands dirty too. Paper-prototyping with Hellicar & Lewis involved acting out our ideas using paper props. They were really animated when they spoke to us about how we can use technology to change lives. We solved world hunger, improved commuting and devised a way to communicate with coma patients – just with paper and a few Sharpies! It taught me that acting out your idea can be far more effective than a boring deck.

Then there was a visit to Google’s Creative Lab. We were so excited to be there, Instagramming and Tweeting everything in sight, from name badges to toilet signs. Steve Vranakis explained the dynamic of the small creative team and showed us new projects. It taught me the importance of working collaboratively and trying new things, even if they don’t go to plan.

For the second week, we worked in groups on a brief for Diageo. I loved working with people from different disciplines and various parts of the globe. It gave us a unique insight and it was fun getting to know each other. The teams were given mentors to help us develop our ideas. Ours were from Design Bridge, who were really enthusiastic and pushed us to come up with something innovative and unique.

Two weeks flew by and I learnt so much. It taught me to think differently, opened some exciting doors and gave me an incredibly talented network of friends. Since finishing the academy, D&AD has been keen to help us kick-start our careers by sending us amazing job and placement opportunities. Even the chance to write this article for Campaign! So I’d like to thank all involved for making it possible.

Hannah Williamson is a copywriter at Profero