Legendary art director, Alex Taylor, gives her Masterclass to third years

Thanks for coming, Alex – we had a truly inspiring day!

Legendary art director Alex Taylor brought her witch’s hat for her masterclass ‘The Art of Art Direction’ last Thursday. She gave an inspiring presentation, talking about the great art directors of the past and present, inspiring our 3rd years to be the great art directors of the future – and critiquing them on the rather tricky art direction brief that she set them. Everyone appreciated the firm hand and went away feeling motivated and inspired by her success. Congratulations to the winners of the Tomato Awards – Becky, Kat and Sophie!

Katie Elson

Well done Becky on coming first!


And Kat came second!

And Sophie came third!


Alex Taylor’s Art Direction Masterclass

img_1859Congratulations to Kinga and Sam for winning The Tomato Awards!

Alex Taylor gave her hugely successful Art Direction masterclass to the 3rd years – more frightening (she is one tough cookie) than usual with Alex dressed as a witch, well, it was Halloween!

The Masterclass is a not-to-be missed experience, giving the students an insight into top-level art direction and how to approach it, from a legend within the advertising industry.

Thank you Alex!


And a bit more on Alex Taylor…


When faced with heavyweights, we as students are often amazed when the intimidating image of an award-winning advertising master is actually a nice, down-to-earth person. Alex Taylor is an advertising goddess in her own right, one that knows she is, but is humble enough to not need to say it. Being ill the week previous I wasn’t able to come to her first talk, and when coming to her second one, I knew how behind just one afternoon away had left me. There is no nonsense with her, everything is meticulous in her explanation: “Art direction, any piece of art direction, must be justifiable. You must be able to give a reason for why you directed anything in anyway, and it must support the idea.”

And, of course, she is right.

Everything from spacing, to scamping, to layouts through to experimentation with media, everything must be thought through and planned. We creatives often forget that there is a craft to what we do, and it is only through constant practice that we start becoming proficient in it. Alex is the best example of this, she is always working to find out what kind of art direction works best for the idea. It’s not about pretty pictures or banging typefaces, it’s about getting the idea across in a way that people won’t forget. One afternoon with her changed my entire thought process in regards to art direction and thankfully it was for the best.



It’s Tomato Award time from Alex Taylor!


Thanks Alex, for a great art direction master class – such brilliant award-winning work and great advice. The winners of the Tomato Award were Jake and Joe (below). With runners up Will and Caroline.

Busy busy busy! The lead up to the final hand-in…

So here in our overworked studio let’s see who we find today…The weeks up to the degree show get tense – 3rd years working day and night to meet the deadline. Do here are a few images to sum up the last weeks.

Before we look at them, let’s say a few thank yous to all the people involved in getting the class of ’14 on the road to brilliant careers…

Our regular contributors…Steve Henry, Mandy Wheeler, Stu Outhwaite, Alex Taylor, Tas, Dave Morris, Dave Stewart, Joc Marchington, Carl Shand and Patrick Collister who supplied inspiration by the bucket load and a wealth of experience!

Our dedicated friends in advertising who offered workshops, mentoring and work experience – Saatchi & Saatchi, Karmarama, BBH, Adam & Eve ddb, Creature, Portas, TMW, JWT, Mother, Weiden & Kennedy, Kindred, LBi, Dare, Lean Mean Fighting Machine, Partners Andrews Aldridge, You, CHI, Team News, The Minimart – thank you!

So back to the class of ’14 – let’s see who we found in the studio today…

A hive of activity!

Harriet and John and Kat – good luck on your adventures in life – and don’t forget us! See you at D&AD, John – fingers crossed you and Harriet win!

Nat and Chaaya – our wonderful pair of writers! Nat – wow them at Dazed and Confused – and Chaaya don’t forget us when you are running the world!

Jonny and Rose – good luck on all your adventures – wishing you both the best – and don’t lose touch!

And it’s adios to Tess and Franky as they plan to travel the world – good luck girls!

Watch out Vienna – Jo is on her way to wow the marketing world – Viel Gluck!!!

Al and Mike – look after yourself boys – good luck at JWT and keep in touch!!!

Ben-ey and Ken-ey! Good luck with the placements at W&K and 4Creative!

Fiona – what will we do without you! congratulations at the job with Arc Worldwide.

Dale – what no smiling Dale anymore!!! Look after that Lisa – and all the luck in the world!

James – lots of luck to you and Ash – keep in touch and keep smiling!

Alex Taylor’s Art Direction Masterclass

Photo by Malte Sebastian Gaarde

At Bucks today we were fortunate to have one of the industry’s most acclaimed art directors to give a masterclass in art direction, Alexandra Taylor. The day started with a exercise into the history of advertising, demonstrating to us the importance of having a sound knowledge of the industry we are going to work in.

Prior to the day Alex asked us to bring in our favourite press advert. As we found out it wasn’t about why you thought the advert worked well but to test you to see how much research you had done into the making of the advert.

Alex then took us through some of the industry’s most prestigious art directors and asked what makes a great art director? Common answers included

“love what they do and not view it as work” 

“have passion and hunger to never be fully satisfied and look to always improve”.

I also learnt a new attitude called ‘the new page’  by Helmut Krone, the famous art director who came up with the legendary mould breaking Volkswagen ‘Lemon’ and Avis ‘2nd best’ press campaigns. Which was about having the intention to always do something different that challenged the existing conventions of what an advert is meant to look like and stopped the reader from flicking straight passed it.

Alex then took us through some of her D&AD award winning campaigns including work for the British Army, which till this day the line ‘Be The Best’ and idea of challenging the viewer, is still used.

After lunch we were critted as if Alex was the head of art in an agency and we were her art directors submitting work. The brief that Alex had previously given to us was to re-art direct a Chevrolet press campaign. My campaign rendition was chosen in the final 3 because of the way I had adapted the photography to give it a more dynamic feel and sense of energy and speed. This earned me a nomination for the 2013 Tomato awards with Harriet Ronn also being Nominated and Yu Tang winning the prestigious Tomato Award.

We were then shown how some of the best industry art directors tackled this challenge and learnt some interesting techniques including Graham Fink’s recommendation of enlarging a photo until it becomes pixels which creates an unpredictable layout to free you up to then form a design from.

Overall, a really interesting day which we have learnt some valuable industry techniques about art direction. Thank you to Alex for coming into Bucks Ad School to teach us.

Robert Lloyd

Alex Taylor: D&AD Art Direction Masterclass.

In December of last year the Second and Third Year had an intensive D&AD Masterclass session with Alex Taylor.

This was again, another ‘kick up the backside’ moment for a lot of people. But we like this. We know it’s a good thing.

We were inspired by her massive array of work on brands such as Silk Cut and The British Army. The day culminated with a look at a brief she had set us which was to re-art-direct a very mediocre campaign for Chevrolet.

What we didn’t know, was that some of London’s top Art Directors (including herself) had also done this brief.

After seeing the results of the top Art Directors our heads were held very firmly in our hands. With this sense of embarrassment over our own work when compared to the professionals, we were filled with inspiration to go out into the world and make better art directors of ourselves. Thank you for your priceless lessons in art direction Alex.