How to get a head start in the design and advertising world

Hilary Chittenden of design and advertising champions D&AD chats about their upcoming #Lifehacks workshop.

Hilary Chittenden works at D&AD, a non-profit organisation which aims to promote excellence in design and advertising. D&AD will be hosting a workshop called The Content Generation at our #Lifehacks event on November 23. Ahead of the big day, we contacted Hilary to find out about more about her work.

What is your specific role at D&AD and what does it entail?
“Well, my official job title is ‘Foundation Manager’. What this means in a nutshell is that I – along with a brilliant team – design and deliver different learning programmes, workshops and courses to help young people get jobs in the design and advertising industry. Day to day this varies quite a lot: from meeting with professional creatives at amazing global agencies to speaking in schools across the country. Around this time of year, we spend a lot of the time travelling around the UK visiting different colleges and universities to talk to students about our New Blood programme. It’s made up of awards, a big festival at London’s Old Truman Brewery in July, and the Academy, which is an amazing and exclusive creative bootcamp. The only way to get a place is to win a D&AD New Blood Pencil award.”

What can we expect from your #Lifehacks workshop ‘The Content Generation’?
“We’re going to be taking a closer look at the branded content phenomenon. With ad blockers and skippable YouTube ads now the norm, we can’t just rely on the 30-second TV ad, particularly when we’re speaking to young people. Brands are having to work harder to engage audiences by entertaining or educating them with longer form and authentic content. We’re going to look at what makes a good piece of branded content through the lens of the D&AD judging criteria – so get ready to analyse, critique and debate! And participants will get creative, too, by coming up with ideas for a piece of self-branded content.”


What skills do you need to become a creative in the advertising industry? How can a young person begin to develop these skills?
“You know, this is the land where the idea is king. The sooner you start coming up with ideas, the better. Big ideas, small ideas, silly ideas… just go to town! And we hear time and time again that some of the most important skills aren’t necessarily tangible. Things like bravery, resilience, curiosity and collaboration are some of the skills we embed in all of our learning products.”

Finally, what do you know now about your industry that you wish you’d known when you were 18?
“Actually, you don’t have to be a ‘creative’ to work in this industry. There’s so many strategic, digital, content and production ways into the advertising and design spectrum. If you love to be inspired by a creative industry but don’t feel confident straight away, there’s so many other opportunities that surround it.”

Later this month, D&AD will be hosting an NME #Lifehacks workshop called The Content Generation.

The workshop forms part of a full afternoon of talks and activities designed to help you kick-start your career in the creative industries. NME has teamed up with University of Salford and youth initiative Create Jobs to lay on the #Lifehacks event in London on November 23.

NME’s #Lifehacks event on November 23 will be headlined by Chelsea footballer Eni Aluko and hip-hop artist Loyle Carner, who will team up for an ‘in conversation’ panel. Another panel will see Paris Lees, Paula Akpan and Josie Naughton join forces to discuss how to effect positive change.


Meanwhile, Lauren Thomas and Ibrahim Kamara will speak on a panel discussing Skills To Succeed In A Digital Age.

One the day, you’ll also be able to connect with the NME team and our partners at the dedicated Hack-Space. Plus, there will be free food and drink, and the event will culminate in an exclusive secret evening gig. At last year’s #Lifehacks launch event, Tinie Tempah wowed the crowds.

You can buy tickets to our first #LifeHacks event (including an exclusive secret gig) with University of Salford here.