The Saatchi Masterclass

In early March I received an exciting email that I had been invited to a portfolio masterclass event at M&C Saatchi. I was one of 400 applicants and fortunate to have made the short-list of just 40 who would have the opportunity to present their work to leading creative directors.

The event was created by The-Dots.com, a portfolio hosting site that I began using while at university. One of the main elements that attracted me to The-Dots was their masterclass events.  Previous masterclasses have been at prestigious agencies and companies such as Google, Pentagram, AKQA, BBH, The Guardian, and of course, M&C Saatchi. They are an opportunity to present your work to leading creative directors for critique and network with others in the creative industry.

Upon entering M&C Saatchi I was greeted by The-Dots crew who explained what the evening would entail as well as some goodies from one of their sponsors, Moo.com. I had come prepared with my own personal business cards (printed by Moo) but for those without, Moo had provided networking cards and notebooks.

After a brief introduction from Pip Jamieson, the founder of The-Dots, Shutterstock’s creative art director, Eric Sams gave an interesting presentation about search trends in design and the various top image searches from around the world. The evening’s mentors were introduced which consisted of Saatchi directors Dan MacCormak, Matt Collier, Lizzie O’Hara-Boyce, Phillip Meyer, Darren Keff, the head of design at Tate, Jo Glover, Sky’s design director Alex Hayley, the infamous copywriter Vikki Ross, Rankin Studio’s creative director Vicky Lawton, Shutterstock’s Eric Sams, and the head of design at Moo.com, Lisa Campana.

Masterclasses take the form of a speed dating event. With about 4 creatives to a table with a mentor, there is a time limit for each person to present work and get feedback. The-Dots would call ‘time’ and you would move onto the next table and so on.  Although the event went from 6-9pm, time limitations meant each person would be able to take part in 4 mentor sessions. The dynamic of a group review meant that you could benefit from everyone’s feedback, hear how they arrived at their final piece and take note of the mentor’s questions about the work. For the most part, I found people were excited by everyone’s work and eager to give further ideas of how to enhance those projects. There was quite a buzz and positive atmosphere!

photo credit: The-Dots.com

I had my work reviewed by Eric Sams, Lisa Campana, Phillip Meyler and Matt Collier. I had brought some physical items for people to hold such as my Manualist pencils, Rogue beer and a laser etch sample I used to create a blind emboss effect for my property brochure The Spindle. These went down really well as did my conceptual  projects such as my invented country, Muira. I felt well-prepared for this kind of event as my degree at University of Suffolk often consisted of peer reviews, presenting our design processes and taking on feedback from others. Sitting around a table and kicking ideas about was right up my alley and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! It was also a great opportunity to connect with other creatives who are just beginning their careers and overall a fantastic evening at M&C Saatchi!