The Chicago Portfolio School


Our school's a little different. But, so are you, otherwise you wouldn't be here. Try on a few eyeballs and check out Chicago Portfolio School.

See it through the eyes of:

What’s in my Office Thursday: Kevin Zwier

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Kevin Zwier, Copywriter at Wunderman.

Check out his advice below:

“Never stop asking ‘Why?’ For every brief or every assignment that’s thrown your way there’s a problem to solve. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, art director or designer, do your research on the client and their competitors. Ask tons of questions to everyone and anyone; the creative director, account people, your partner, your friends, your family or even people on the street. Read the reviews and comments of the product(s) on various websites. Dig deep into research because you never know where you’ll find a little nugget of insight that you can use to solve the problem at hand.”

“Secondly, this is a highly subjective business you’re getting into so never give up and never look defeated. What one person says is terrible another might come back and say they love it. There will be days when every one of your ideas or lines gets shot down or ripped apart, one that you’ve worked hours upon hours upon hours fine tuning. Don’t give up when an idea does get rejected, don’t look defeated. Accept the criticism, learn and grow from it. The same applies to when you do get an idea through. Tweaks will always need to be made but for every swing and a miss you’ll eventually get a home run.”

Check out his talented portfolio here:

By heather : January 07, 2016

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Franki Geib & Kate Cullen

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alumni Franki Geib (Associate Art Director) and Kate Cullen (Associate Copywriter) who are creative partners at FCB. We love it when CPSers get to work as a team!

Check out their advice below:

“Go to class, the easiest thing you can do is show up. While it’s important to make your book your own, it’s even more important to take your teachers’ advice. Practice applying critiques to your work while you’re still in school because that’s what your future job will be. When it comes time to get a job, do whatever you can to get an internship - it’s a great way to network and prove yourself. Most importantly, be nice to everyone. You never know who your future desk mate will be (see picture).”

Take a look at their talented books:

By heather : December 17, 2015

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Gift Ideas for the Creative in your Life

The holidays are officially here, which means shopping for everyone on your list needs to happen ASAP. Here are some ideas for the creatives in your life (or more realistically - things you’ll end up buying for yourself).

Adult Coloring Books / These guys are totally having a moment. For good reason too - they’re fun and majorly stress relieving. Don’t forget to pick up some markers as well.

Illustrated Harry Potter / There’s no time like the holidays to revisit new and improved childhood favorites.

The Design Deck / It’s easier to explain to your dad what you actually do in the context of a poker game. I promise.

Audible Subscription / Improving someone’s commute is priceless. Bonus points for finally convincing them to join your book club.

LEGO Architecture Studio  / So they can carefully follow the directions or have enough supplies to go totally rogue.

Built-in Charger Bag / Cooler than a normal computer bag, more functional than that ratty Jansport leftover from college.

Food/Liquor/Snack of the Month Club / Mouth has so many options for different subscription boxes, from pickles to jerkey to gin. The ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

Siracha2Go / Because creative or not, we all probably could benefit from a miniature vat of hot sauce.

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

By heather : December 11, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Sarah Hall

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Sarah Hall, Junior Art Director at Leo Burnett.

Check out her advice below:

“If you have a certain technique or style that you love, do as much of it as possible to build up your skills and develop your point of view. But don’t be afraid to try something a little out of your wheelhouse too. You might grapple with it, but making yourself creatively uncomfortable from time to time will only make you more well-rounded.”

“Sometimes there will be tough days in school, on the job hunt, or at work, because you are a human being. Don’t let them discourage or debilitate you. It’s easy to get down on yourself if something isn’t clicking, but just remember that every single creative in this industry has been in your shoes at some point. In any project, it will only help you to be kind, curious, and well-reasoned.”

Take a look at her talented work:

By heather : December 10, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Ann Treadwell

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS alum Ann Treadwell, Junior Art Director at Geometry Global.

Check out her advice below:

“In portfolio school you have the freedom to do ANYTHING, take advantage of it! Even if you get assigned a brand you don’t think will make it in your book, work on it like it has to go in your book. Always be looking to replace things and make your body of work stronger. In the end though, it’s your book. Make it something you are passionate about, not just the work you were told is the best. And most importantly, don’t be mean! Sure being persistent and a go-getter can get you places, but people remember when you go the extra mile. Plus no one wants to work with a jerk! Good Luck!”

Take a look at her talented book here:

By heather : December 03, 2015

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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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