SCAD Atlanta held its third annual Out to Launch portfolio exhibition on May 6, showcasing student work to entice potential employers. This event is a kind of reverse career fair, where students display their work in a typical career fair format. Faculty, staff and potential employers were able to view student portfolios from fields such as advertising design, animation, graphic design, illustration, interactive design and game development, motion media design, photography and writing. Jonathan Justice, a senior interactive design and game development student, said, “[The opportunity to participate in Out to Launch] is not something you should pass up … I met a lot of people from some big industry companies … I even got an interview with one of them.”

During the second half of the event, held on the morning of May 7, students enjoyed a lecture by keynote speaker Chris Hall, president and executive officer of BBDO in Atlanta, titled, “Succeeding in the New Now.” Hall’s lecture addressed the financial meltdown and how the economy has changed the landscape of advertising. Despite the looming recession, Hall’s words encouraged students as he credited “the blurring of technology” for the creation of new jobs in the creative industry. Hall exclaimed, “[Now is the] best time to be in marketing.”

Hall’s speech was followed by an announcement of the best-in-show winners from the previous evening’s portfolio exhibition. The following students took home the top prizes:

Lauren Henderson — advertising
Jessica Wang —animation
Andrea Gill —graphic design
Solango Melaker —illustration
Jonathan Matos — motion media
John Chu — interactive design and game development
David Greer — photography
Gray Chapman —writing

A panel discussion and question-and-answer session with industry leaders from CNN Worldwide, JWT Atlanta, Moxie Interactive, Razorfish, Fitzgerald & Co. and Clockstop Entertainment followed the awards ceremony. The topics ranged from the infamous redesign of the Tropicana carton (“I thought it sucked,” said Scot M. Safon, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for CNN) to the importance of interactive media (“It is not going away,” said Ben Cammarano, director of central media for Microsoft). Hal Barber, associate creative director for Fitzgerald & Co., had this tip for writers looking to break in to the advertising business: “[I look for a] writer who thinks visually.” Safon offered his own advice to students looking for ways to market themselves: “There are tons of ways to get a product out there. You just have to work with the resources you’ve got.” He credited the power of YouTube and other social media as venues that students may use to show potential employers the results of their creativity.

Following the panel discussion, students were able to participate in a networking session with the featured guests.