Let me work backwards and show you how I got there.
Imagewest is a student-run advertising agency in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It’s interesting how the business model works, genius really. Each semester, students apply for an internship with Imagewest. Each student who fills out the application correctly gets an interview with agency manager, Heather Garcia. The interview process takes about two weeks total, and around 12 students are selected each semester based on industry knowledge, portfolio, and skill level. So each semester, Heather starts over, training new, student employees to do high-level agency design work. The students have to be good to be able to learn quickly and accept and apply Imagewest’s design standards. Imagewest is successful, bringing home Parthenon Awards, Markie Awards, and several other impressive awards for their full-service design and branding work. Imagewest competes with other agencies in Nashville, and the Bowling Green areas.
The most impressive thing about Imagewest is the work abroad opportunities. The year I was with Imagewest, I went to Paris, France and worked with the Global Editor’s Network. I’ve talked about that on this blog a few times before.
However, Imagewest got a ton of local coverage for doing none other than a local and pro-bono 24 hour project with the Barren River Animal Welfare Association. That was the first experience I’ve ever had in doing a “full” campaign.
There was a lot to learn from that night that made me realize that if I wanted to be in advertising, I needed to change the way I thought about campaigns. It wasn’t about messing around in Photoshop anymore. Everything has a purpose, everything has a rule and an exception. Like everyone my age working on BRAWA, I was naïve about the creative process. I’m happy to say that it only took 24 hours to understand what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. I was blessed to be a part of the print design team, and I got to help with a photo shoot, kidnap a cat, get mauled by said cat, learn until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, and yes, after 24 hours of working, I got to help with the pitch (my favorite part).
If you ever are in Glasgow, Kentucky, I may (or may not) be on a billboard there. That is the first documented photo of me “getting it.” Working for my very first campaign let me to this moment (which is me in my dream city) and for that, I’d like to thank Imagewest, Heather Garcia, Mark Simpson, all of BRAWA, everyone who helped, all of my professors at the time, and my parents and grandparents, oh yes, and lynda.com.
I will never stop learning. That is my secret and the key to all my success.