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I currently work at a small marketing & PR firm where I’m getting experience doing all kinds of things. What I really want to do is copywriting, and I’m getting no experience in that area. When I was in school, all of my professors said I had a natural talent in that area. So I guess my question is what can I do to break into that field? My college portfolio was stolen so I don’t have a portfolio anymore. Is it acceptable to have a portfolio completely made of “fake” ads? Just copy that I designed on my own? How important is graphic design for my book? At work now, I mainly do editing and things of that nature, how can I incorporate that into a portfolio? I know this is a lot of questions, but thank you in advance. Anything would be helpful at this point.

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Hello Peter,

I am an undergraduate student entering into my junior year of college. I am majoring in political science but am considering tacking on either a minor in studio art or minor in graphics design. While I would enjoy studio work and think that it’ll be an enriching experience, I am wondering if I’ll be better off going the graphics route so that I will have something relevant to show off to the advertising firm I plan to apply for an internship at during the next summer. Which would you recommend? Does it really matter?

Furthermore, I am wondering if I should make a creative twist on my resume in order to set myself apart from the rest of the grovelers begging to intern. I am proficient enough in adobe design programs  that I can create a little fun and colorful pamphlet or package for myself. Should I get a little ballsy and do that, or will I just make myself seem annoying?

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QUESTION: Wow, I hope this isn’t TOO closely related to the last question but I’ve been dying for an answer and I have not been able to find one ANYWHERE. I’m fascinated by a career in the branding field, such as one of the many companies of OmnicomGroup or Voicebox Creative, et cetera. My major interest is the creative design but I don’t want to limit myself with that as my sole major/family would kill me. What is the best educational/career path for someone who wants to get into this business?

ANSWER: Hi, Marissa

The entire field of advertising is a “career in branding,” so again, I need more details about what you want to do on a day to basis.

Develop strategic plans?
Talk to clients?

etc., etc.

If you want to be a brand manager – the person on the client-side who oversees the marketing activities for a brand, including its advertising – you probably can go down a general marketing path.

If you want to be an account planner – the person on the agency side who develops the strategy behind the brand – you’ll want an undergrad degree in marketing, sociology or psychology with a graduate degree in account planning.

The VCU Brand Center offers an account planner’s track. Here’s a link that may be of some interest:…

———- FOLLOW-UP ———-

QUESTION: Thank you for your answer! Thank you for the tip on account planning and your answer as well, it has greatly helped with my self-evaluation. I am based in California but I will look into that further as well. I’m not intentionally trying to be vague, (I promise! :) the problem being I’m having a hard time even finding out what these jobs are! I have been scouring websites, being fascinated by them for months.

From what I can decipher it seems that I would have to start at one of these firms as a graphic designer and ultimately move up to an art director? I am not sure what the title is. Ultimately, I’d like to be the person behind the table creating the jumping off point or directing the campaign. It seems to be where my gifts are at, figuring out the creative direction for marketing a product.

I am particularly interested in branding firms because of the variety of clients they work with (as opposed to working within the product’s company itself) and the design aspects. I’m just trying to find a major/minor combination that balances the need for design and marketing.

I am sorry, perhaps you answered this with reference to the “agency side” answer above, but I thought I would check anyway. This field seems to be very specific, so I have been apprehensive.

Thank you.


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