The Chicago Portfolio School


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Creatives Killing it on Instagram

A little while back, Business Insider published an article about agencies recruiting directly from Instagram. More and more creatives seem to be upgrading their IG game from selfies and #foodporn to polished and successful side projects. Here are some Chicago creatives currently killing it on Instagram:

@jasonmpeterson - Jason Peterson, CCO at Havas
More than half a million followers can’t be wrong.

@m__carty - Megan Carty, Art Director at FCB
This is how you do cat photos. Also, Megan’s design sense leaks into her apartment, which is equally flawless and photogenic. - Dan Atwater, Jr. Art Director at Deutsch LA
A CPS alum, Dan used Instagram to showcase his book in a zany new way.

@annarussett - Anna Russett, Strategist at Havas
She’s built a girl-power empire, complete with an army of teen fans and her own YouTube channel.

@msalisbu - Michael Salisbury, Systems Engineer at Leo Burnett
Michael manages other creative IG communities and perfectly captures the vibe of city life in Chicago.

@gemolteni - Grace Molteni, Designer at The Bond Group
Totally jaw dropping, both around Chicago and off on her lust-worthy adventures.

Written by CPS Blogger and 2nd Quarter CW: Olivia Crandall

By heather : December 01, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Lindsay Fuhs

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Lindsay Fuhs, Digital Designer at Energy BBDO.

Check out her advice below:

@ CPS - Have fun in taking full advantage of the creative freedom you have. This is the time to BE YOU and to pour your heart and soul into every project. Be sure to have smart reasons to back up all of your design decisions. When the designs are done- make app prototypes, photograph and stylize your own photo shoots of your project’s, and code your own website. Make it your own.

@ finding a job - Have design heroes you turn to for inspiration. Find the people that are doing what you want to be doing and follow their footsteps. Consider where you want to spend all of your time. You are talented, so don’t settle. One rule I had set up for myself when applying for jobs was that I wouldn’t apply to a firm if I didn’t think their work or website design was strong. Also, if their website design wasn’t responsive!

@ at your job - Do more than what is expected, be nice, smile, bake cookies and everyone will love you. 

@ life - Tell the world what you do! People will see your passion and believe in you and trust me that will lead to many opportunities. Make design your practice, not your profession. Keep working on perfecting your craft in and outside of your 9-5. It’s important to keep up with side projects or freelance work to find other outlets to express your creativity.

Take a look at her beautiful book:

By heather : November 19, 2015

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The Same, but Different.

Sometimes creative roles overlap, which leads most people to say this confusing phrase, “they’re the same, but different”. Now, I know I’m not the only CPS student to question the difference between an art director and a creative director, so I figured I’d break it down for my fellow peers to give you a better idea of what you plan on getting yourself into.

    A creative director typically thinks through the early phases of a project and develops the glorious concept. They make the creative brief that must indefinitely lines up with the client’s business objective. A creative director also oversees the entire team, which includes the copy chief, photographer, and art director. The creative director generally has the overall say of what gets a yay and what gets a nay before being delivered to a client. Their ultimate purpose is to nurture the agency’s talent and steer its creative philosophy in a rememberable direction. Basically, it’s their ass that gets the butt woopin when a client is unhappy with the work.

    On the other hand, an art director executes the strategy and concept or idea provided by the creative director. After the concept is developed, the art director is responsible for the stylistic look of the ad. He or she brainstorms with colleagues, who include graphic designers, sketch artists and possibly typesetters, to provide direction and inspiration for the given assignment. This art direction is meant to maintain brand consistency. The art director also oversees the project through the production department and other phases, including prepress and printing. If there is no creative director, the art director may potentially have the final say of the ad.
Well, I hope everyone has a better understanding of “these same, but different” creative roles. Good luck to you all on figuring out where your talents fit best. Just remember, you’re never stuck in a set routine as each position feeds into the next.

Written by CPS Blogger and 3rd Quarter CW: Jessi Pelzel

By heather : November 17, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Adam Bedol

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Adam Bedol, Copywriter at Grey in NYC.

Check out his advice below:

“Make your book the way you want it. Look at other student books from CPS and other schools. You’ll notice different kinds of styles are fits for different kinds of agencies. Have a vision of what you want your book to become and work everyday to get there.”

“Also, hone your craft! If you’re a writer, write a million headlines, manifestos, and persuasive concept statements. If you’re an art director, don’t let unit design skills get rusty. This will help you immensely when you start working.”

“And lastly, always keep a rubber chicken at your desk.”

Take a look at his talented book here:

By heather : November 05, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Andrew Tassy

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Andrew Tassy, Art Director at SPM Marketing & Communications.

Check out his advice below:

“The best thing you can do is to push yourself. Push yourself to always improve your book, never settle. Push the limits of your network. That 27th degree connection might just be the “in” you need. And overall, just push yourself to keep going, don’t give up.”

“If need be, listen to Salt-n-Pepa’s hit single “Push It” repeatedly until you’ve reached the appropriate level of push.”

Check out his portfolio here:

By heather : October 29, 2015

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Overheard at CPS

One of the most unexpected bonuses of being at Chicago Portfolio School is getting cultural tips from fellow students and staff. You’re basically guaranteed to leave each day with new things to dabble in. That being said, here’s the latest batch of CPS obsessions:

Streaming: Mr. Robot
This show has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. If that isn’t enough to convince you to give it a try, you’ll also get Christian Slater, Fight Club-esque plot twists and a fresh look at what it means for us to live in the digital age. Seriously, just do it.

Eating: Stan’s Donuts
With locations in Wicker Park, Streeterville, and the just-opened Lakeview, Stan’s is becoming harder to resist. Try the lemon pistachio old-fashioned, the pretzel donut or the famed Nutella pocket.

Wearing: Everlane
The entire creative department at most agencies seems to be hip to the same uniform. You can nab it here for reasonable prices with the bonus of production transparency. Knowing where your clothes come from is cool, but having those clothes feel like pajamas is even cooler.

Downloading: Dark Sky
Winter is coming, Chicago, and preparation is key. Dark Sky blows any pre-installed weather app out of the water. From precise hourly temperatures to push notifications letting you know it’s about to rain, it can’t be beat. Extra credit for the clean and modern user interface.

Watching: The Walk
With Joseph Gordon Levitt doing his best Pepe Le Pew, The Walk tells the true story of a man who crossed the distance between the World Trade Center towers on what may as well have been a piece of dental floss. It’s more interesting than it sounds, especially in IMAX. Also, this is a great time to revisit the original documentary - Man on Wire, which is streaming on Netflix.

Drinking: Pumking by Souther Tier Brewing Company
Because does anyone actually like warm, whipped cream topped, coffee franken-beverages? Honorable mentions go to La Croix (try those new Target-exclusive flavors if you haven’t already) and your nana’s old favorite, the Hot Toddy.

Written by CPS Blogger and 2nd Quarter CW: Olivia Crandall

By heather : October 27, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Kim Sheffield

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Kim Sheffield, Associate Copywriter at FCB.

Check out her advice below:

“As you’re approaching your job search, know what you like—in your book, and out in the wild. Be specific. Know why things are bonkers or fall short. A lot of work comes down to taste level, and what you can defend in good conscience. Be aware of where the good work is coming from, and follow that proverbial gravy train. Developed taste and articulate opinions always trump vague passions.”

“Once you’re out there shaking your respective moneymaker, keep being an advocate for the weird. Pitch that idea for an anthropomorphic syringe, do things before you’re ready, have an opinion, be kind but vocal, don’t be a wisenheimer, bring bagels, listen to the people you think make dope shit, learn everything you can, ask for more, and throw your weight around.”

Take a look at her book here:

By heather : October 22, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Courtney Schiffres

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Courtney Schiffres, Copywriter at VSA Partners Inc.

Check out her advice below:

While in CPS
When it comes to school and building your portfolio do your homework, and not just the ones assigned. Keep up with the industry and study what’s been done before. Spend way more time researching and nailing down a strong concept than you think is necessary. It’ll make writing for it a thousand times easier. Push yourself – both your work and your work ethic. And don’t take your time at CPS for granted. It was one of the best times of my life so enjoy every god damn minute of it.

The Almighty Job Search
Network your a$$ off. Study the land and organize yourself. Also, I found there are a lot more agencies out there that are suited for you than you think. My advice is to keep your options open. Really figure out what it is about an agency you like, don’t just chase an agency because of its name. This is a hard process; don’t get discouraged. Things have a weird way of working out. You’ll end up where you’re supposed to be.

The Aftermath
Once you land your first gig, get noticed. Do more work than is asked of you. Jump in on every project you can get your hands on and help out as much as possible. There have been plenty of times that I did work for other teams and even times I helped out other departments. People notice when you are a team player and I’ve actually landed new work because of it. Be confident. Just because you are an intern doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact.

And lastly, believe in yourself. Self-doubt is the killer of dreams and interviews. You got this.

Check out Courtney’s talented portfolio here:

By heather : September 24, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Courtney Coha

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Courtney Coha, Junior Art Director at mcgarrybowen.

Check out her advice below:

“My advice for current students is to not lose your enthusiasm. There will be tough days. But, when you can, get really excited about your work. It makes it so much more fun to create, and it will inevitably end up being a great piece in the end. Overall, in school and in the workplace, be nice to everyone and be pleasant to be around. Everyone wants to work with someone who is enjoyable to be around, even during those late nights and early mornings. A good attitude will go a long way.

Check out her talented portfolio here:

By heather : September 17, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Jason Cohen & Sarah Berkley

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet recent CPS alumni Jason Cohen and Sarah Berkley, Copywriter & Art Director Duo at DDB.

Check out their advice below:

“When it comes to internships, you have to be ruthless.  Risk annoying your Creative Directors and other co-workers. Ask them if they need help.  Help them even if they don’t ask you to. Write scripts for that Super Bowl spot, even if you have no idea what a F*#$%@ TV script looks like. Be the first one at work. Everything is a learning experience. Good ol’ fashioned hard work will get you a long way.”

“Yes, a lot of what happens while working at an agency has to do with timing, but we believe in making your own luck.  If you truly “want it” and show it, people will start to notice and things will start to roll in the right direction.”

“Say hey to everyone at your agency, even the mail guy and the secretary.  The more people that know who you are, the more people will fight for you when it’s time to get hired. Get face time with your ECD’s, GCD’s, all of your whatever-CD’s (aka the important people).  They’re not as scary as you think.  They’re humans with families and actual interests.  You’ll probably end up talking about Miley smokin’ weed at the VMA’s or their favorite new dinner spot in the West Loop.”

“Oh yeah and ad peeps love free food.  Bagels for days.”

Take a look at their awesome books:

By heather : September 10, 2015

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