How you make a portfolio.
• Work and learn under active industry creatives
• Classes are hosted on-site, as well as various agencies in Denver and at Crispin Porter Bogusky in Boulder
• Work on spec campaigns for real brands in classes structured to run like an agency
• Finish with an industry-standard portfolio
Here at DAD, we’ll work with you for 14 months to develop a thoughtful and creative industry-ready portfolio consisting of six ad campaigns, which is enough to give agencies a good idea of the type of creative you are. DAD is structured to be just like an ad agency, with working industry professionals leading classes just like they lead their own agency teams. This way, you’ll get what feels like an entire year’s worth of on-the-job training before you even show up to your first day of work.
Our classes are either held here on-site, or teachers can choose to hold class at their agency. We’ll also host classes once a quarter in Boulder at the office of Crispin Porter Bogusky. By doing this, our students are exposed to the agency experience right away both in Denver and Boulder so they can start to get a feel for how agencies work and what to expect when they actually start working there.
Art Directors and Copywriters are paired up in teams on each assignment, giving everyone the chance to work together. You’ll be briefed on assignments for real-life brands — so yeah, you’ll be making fake work for real brands. Some of our classes are even category-specific — like automotive, food & beverage, tourism, etc. — giving you the chance to work with guides who are experts in their fields to create more realistic campaigns.
Just like in an agency, you’ll churn out tons of big ideas derived from real human truths (with help from your fellow Strategy students), get lots of in-depth critiques from your Creative Director, and then turn those creative concepts into creative executions like billboards, digital video, social media posts, and anything else you can dream up. At DAD, we put a focus on crafting smart campaigns with a clear story and purpose that you can easily sell to recruiters, creative directors, and then eventually to a client.
You’ll spend 14 months doing this (or eleven weeks if you’re in the Strategy program), after which we’ll help you out with the most important thing — getting a job.
How you get a job.
Looking for a job can feel intimidating and stressful, so we’re here to make it as easy as possible.
In the first month of Q5, you’ll put the finishing touches on your campaigns and build your online portfolio. In the second month we’ll guide you on how to brand yourself, present your work effectively to agencies, and find interesting ways to connect with the people who are going to hire you. You’ll learn what to say, what not to say, what to expect in an agency interview, and how to negotiate salaries and employment contracts. In the simplest of terms, this is a “How Not to Blow It” class.
Then, once your book is 100% finished and it’s a portfolio we are all super proud of… now what? Well, DAD wants to show that puppy off. We’ll send out your portfolio links to our partners at the top agencies in the country to review, plus we’ll host portfolio debut events for you to mingle and show off your book in person with agencies. If they’re impressed, and they will be, they’ll reach out to you directly to set up an interview. You’ll also receive weekly super secret, DAD alumni-only newsletters with industry news, job opportunities, and other cool stuff. Our job is to get you a job, so the door never closes. For as long as you want after you’re done here, you can keep calling, texting, emailing, and sending up signal flares for help and advice. Yep, this is a forever type of thing.
• Learn how to effectively job hunt
• We work with our industry partners and connections to get you a job
• Once you're done, you can always come back to us for job hunting help and advice.
It’s all about who we know.
Our industry connections run wide and deep. All of our teachers come from the top agencies in Denver and Boulder, which makes working directly with the best creatives in Colorado on a weekly basis an awesome networking opportunity. Even better, though, our recruiting connections span both coasts so when you’re done here the best agencies all across the country will have the opportunity to see your portfolio. Take a quick stroll below to see a few of the places we’re friendly with.
Advertising isn’t (always) inspiring.
At DAD you’ll get a deep dive into the history of advertising and work directly with industry professionals to learn how agencies really work. But we think looking at and thinking about advertising all day doesn’t actually lead to good creative. To really tap into good ideas that feel new and interesting and relevant, you’ve got to be in touch with what’s happening all around us in the culture at large. We’ll share monthly Spotify playlists, screen movies, take field trips to art studios, schedule off-site workshops with local brand partners, plus we’ll bring in guest speakers and host workshops at the school featuring artists, musicians, actors, directors, comedians, and other creative people from outside the industry. So instead of looking at what other agencies have done for inspiration, you can inspire agencies with something they’ve never seen before.
Hard work pays off.
Ultimately, the harder you work the better your book will be. So you have to do the work. This means never missing a class, treating every brand assignment like a potential book piece, adding value to in-class critiques, churning out work day and night, and being a really good partner. This is a highly collaborative environment and no one wants to work with (or hire) a jerk. We’ve been doing this a long time and have all the resources and connections to help you begin your creative career, but we can’t make your book for you. As long as you show up each day curious and willing, you’ll be in good shape.