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Creative advertising campaign | Graphic Design

Never stop learning: D&AD masterclass

Never stop learning: D&AD masterclass

By Dave Lloyd

Never stop learning: D&AD masterclass

Never stop learning, isn’t that what they say? Here at Naked we make it a priority amongst the team to stay ahead of the game, to keep learning and to constantly remain inspired, we’re a creative agency after all and our clients depend on us for it. Plus, it’s our life blood, it’s why we exist as creatives — it’s what we love doing.

My role here at Naked is Creative Director, to most, it’s another one of those ambiguous creative agency titles, but in essence it’s making sure that the work we produce for our customers not only stays on brand, sticks to the brief, but is of the highest possible standards, and it’s my job to help raise those standards within our agency.

For us to be the best we can be and, in turn, create better for customers it’s essential that we learn from the very best people in our industry and in the very best environments. This is why I recently attended a D&AD masterclass in Art Direction for Advertising Creatives at their HQ in Shoreditch.

At this point I better explain that the D&AD is an not-for-profit organisation, probably best known for its awards (they come in the shape of pencil) they are the highest accolade a creative can receive, basically the Oscars of our industry but they also provide learning and the course leaders are some of the most renowned creatives on the planet. 

Learning from the best
Our teacher for the day was advertising industry heavyweight Alexandra Taylor (Alexandra Taylor). Alexandra is a staunch Newcastle United fan, and was an Art Director for Saatchi and Saatchi back in the advertising heydays of the 80s and 90s (She is probably best known for creating the stand out campaigns for the British Army and Silk Cut) and this shone through from the off with impassioned dialogue littered with F-bombs, she began by telling us how we were cursed with perfectionism and amazing taste.

Learning in a group of your peers, many of whom work for global agencies based in London, can also be a nerve-wracking experience (that imposter syndrome thing) but we’re all here to learn the same thing the Art of Art Direction. In short, it’s how advertising looks, its the tone of voice we set with the typography, colours, and images, creating impact, not being boring, creating stand out, I was going to say it was full of useful tips and tricks but that does it a disservice. What we learned was more like the advertising gospel according to Alexandra as she she made us stand up and recite her pledge of creating great art direction. This is my type of learning.

These nuggets of advice, some of which you already know but you need someone of Alexandra’s stature to remind you, are so useful to bring to Naked to put into practice, our clients benefit with even more compelling work, our creative team benefit with inspiration and added knowledge but above all else it helps us enjoy what we do. Having fun is the absolute premise of creativity - it’s playing its experimenting; it’s pushing.

Being in a group of peers that you’ve never met before was probably made worse by the fact we had to produce some homework, re-art direct a series of car ads, and then put it up on the wall and have everyone dissect (critique) it. Lots of worried looking faces at this point. Each person then had to put a mark against their three favourites.



Astonishingly, my ad won a second place award (in advertising second place is a big deal, think Avis, if you second best it means you have to work harder.) Plus being presented with an award, by Alexandra for an ad at the D&AD was not what I was expecting at the start of the day. The prize was in the style of a market greengrocer price card and attached to a tomato beautifully wrapped in tissue paper. Alexandra told us a story of when she had visited a market with legendary fashion designer Paul Smith and was trying to work out why one stall had the biggest queue. As it transpired, they wrapped the tomatoes in tissue paper, the moral behind the story, how well something looks or is presented can make a significant impact on sales.

I can’t recommend this type of learning enough, there were so many key takeouts for the day and so many that will help significantly impact our work here at Naked.

You can find out more about the Art Direction for Advertising Creatives course and other masterclasses run by D&AD here