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10 things I’ve learnt in 10 weeks

We’re checking in with our Art Director, Lauren Epps, who’s taking part in this years School of Thought.


Lauren Epps



Girl standing against a wall smiling

When signing up for School of Thought this year, I didn’t really know what to expect.

All I did know, was that I was having a bit of a lull creatively and wanted to be pushed, and what better way to do this than juggling 12 consecutive weeks of creative briefs alongside my day job!

It’s been really liberating to let go and just focus on that big idea; marker pen in hand and no budgets or brand guidelines to hold me back. So, with just 2 weeks left, I thought I’d pull together 10 things I’ve learnt over the 10 weeks so far.

1) The simpler an idea, the more powerful it is

An idea needs to be ‘got’ straight away, people will never have the context and backstory to help it make sense, or have me standing next to it to explain it to them. I’ve learnt the strengths in whittling down an idea to it’s simplest form, and how much more powerful this can be to the audience.

2) Pen and paper is king

Even though we have been able to present our ideas digitally each week, it’s been really refreshing to just strip everything back and limit myself to marker pen and paper. If the ideas work in this minimalist form, they will more than likely work when pushed into different executions.

3) It doesn’t have to be perfect

I tend to be a perfectionist, so this whole process has been really challenging for me. I always want to present the best thing I can, highly polished, however as this isn’t what this process is about, I’ve been embracing those scrawls and trying to get comfortable with presenting them.

4) Trust my gut

If I don’t believe in it 100%, it normally means it doesn’t quite work and needs some tweaking. I’ve learnt to push it, question it, try slightly different things, and if it still isn’t working, it’s probably time to move on from it.

5) Personality is key

My most successful presentations so far have been the ones that have included a bit of me in them. Whether it be photographs of my Grandad working at the dairy, or videos of a friend playing golf, injecting personality into these presentations makes them that bit more engaging for the viewer.

6) Talk things out

Whether that’s with Phil (the course organiser) or members of my team at IMA-HOME, it’s been so helpful to share ideas with others as I’ve been working through the week. Not only will it find any holes in the idea, but it’s helped me push them further too.

7) Share ideas with non-advertising folk

In my case, my other half. Every Wednesday evening I’ve been showing him the idea for the week and simply asking him ‘do you get it?’ He’s very honest with me so will always say no if it’s not working!

8) I don’t need to fear AI

Week 6 introduced us to the wonders of AI (something I knew nothing about and was quite wary of before this!) However, after a few goes on Midjourney, I quickly realised you really need to know how to write good prompts to get the imagery you want, and that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

9) Rudy’s is at top spot

After 10 consecutive weeks of Pizza Thursdays, it’s safe to say I may need a break when this is all over. But I can clarify, Rudy’s is currently at the top of the pile when it comes to the best pizza.

10) I love what I do

I love the idea generation part of a project, and I still find it a bit mad that it’s a big part of my job every day!

It’s been a busy few months, but looking back at the work I’ve produced, I’m feeling super proud of what I’ve achieved so far. Now for the last push…

…and if you fancy it, see you at the wrap party on the 13th July at Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen!

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