With what feels like an eternity already behind us and another one ahead of us in this new anxiety-ridden, quarantined normal, Jesse Alkire has some advice that doesn’t feel like another guilt trip from somebody who actually puts on pants to work from home: Make something silly.
“Silly” is just how Alkire, freelance creative director and founder of the Denver Ad School, describes the project he dropped on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. After seeing the news that Anheuser-Busch was shifting some of its production capacity to hand sanitizer for the American Red Cross, Alkire started playing around with some designs for other beer brands.
“I’d love to see other breweries follow Anheuser-Busch’s lead,” said Alkire. But in addition to highlighting that possibility, Alkire was also just trying to keep himself busy.
As a freelancer, he’s lost gigs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but has largely been able to redirect that effort into the school. Students from all over the country are worrying about the gaps that’ll be left in their portfolios due to classes being suspended. In an attempt to support those students, Denver Ad School created its first online classes and worked to connect industry professionals with students in need of mentorship or portfolio help.
Whether it’s gained through formal coursework or independent study, there’s no substitute for practice. “The key to being a creative is all about reps,” said Alkire. “Just do a fun, stupid project like this, it gets you in Photoshop, it gets you in Illustrator. If you’re a writer, write a short story. The more you do, the better you get.”
Alkire also encourages students to use this time to sleuth around the LinkedIn pages of creative professionals. Looking at their portfolios can help younger creatives get a better sense of what employers are looking for. “The biggest thing you can control is working on stuff by yourself,” he said.