Dave Birss – Creative Director, Writer & Speaker

Dave Birss has been in the industry for 10 years, he started his journey at university doing a computer programming course and then later on went back to university to study advanced mathematics.

Birss’ first job was at  the record label he was recording music for at the time, they offered him job as a session musician and a recording engineer. Following his time there, he left and started to write comical songs for people to listen too. He started by being the closing host of a comedy show, he would be given a 30 minute slot and people became to find him hilarious. He continued his work by eventually touring with the show and his slots becoming bigger each time.

For job he needed a portfolio which he didn’t have, his for job application was a song he had written and luckily – because it was something different to anything they’d seen from anyone before, he was hired. However after this, for the next jobs he would need to build a portfolio, because he hadn’t had much previous experience in the field of advertising, Birss decided to dissect different adverts to understand why he liked specific ones and why he didn’t, but also what made them entertaining and what makes them funny.

After leaving a job where he was constantly being put down about his ideas, he went for an interview in Scotland. They gave him two briefs and he had to create ideas for the both in one hour. He was able to come up with several ideas for both, create the concept visuals and was able to draw the type font which was needed. The creative directors didn’t expect so much from him in an hour and that was his stepping stone to realising the job before was unhealthy and he did have a future in the industry.

Things I have learnt and will be taking away from Birss’ lecture;

Portfolio – Need a portfolio full of all your best work, nothing average, has to be good and different from the rest.

Enjoy yourself – If you’re miserable in what you of, then you will make everyone else miserable too – you have to have an interest and thrive at what you do in your job.

Work with people who make your ideas bigger – Work with those who lift you up, not people who keep putting you down. It is fine to have someone be critical and help you better your work, but when it is continuous of negativity it isn’t healthy.

Feed your mind – Continue to feed your mind, there are three different ways for people to be able to use it; 1. Feeding and stretching your brain – constant flow of new information 2. Exercise your mind – to be curious and actively thinking of ideas 3. Occupying your mind  – tolerating life by not doing anything but standard day to day things. Therefore, we need to feed our minds of new information and exercise it to gain more knowledge and not go brain dead.

Don’t just think, DO! – Benefiting from doers than thinkers, of you don’t enjoy what you’re creating then no one will. Have fun with the projects, put your passion and energy into the idea and then so will the consumers.

Ask for criticism – Learn from your mistakes and and critics, can only get better by having feedback whether it’s from a lecturer, interviewer or boss. Develop thick skin because it won’t always be nice, however it was benefit your work in the long run.

No Google – Don’t google to find ideas, everyone does that, no one looks further than the first page and it shows what is commonly searched. That means the your output will be the same as everyone else’s, therefore look for what other people don’t spot in the trends.


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