Portfolio Perfection feat. Phil Blackmore

Phil Blackmore is Agency Owner & Creative partner at Create Health, he’s been generous enough to take the time to chat with us about what he looks for when hiring a designer and gives his advice on building a portfolio to help you land that dream job.

Sam @ ADLIB: Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your own journey as a creative so far?

Hello, I’m Phil Blackmore, Co-Founder & Creative Partner at Create Health.

My creative journey started out long before the internet was invented (cue screams). Originally, I studied photography and had great plans to be the next Rankin. However, I discovered graphic design at college and truth be told, was better at it.

I went to Bucks university to study Graphics & Advertising. I instantly fell in love with the problem-solving part of the creative process. Creating ads was exciting, challenging and hugely rewarding when a Creative Director would nod in appreciation. I discovered a talent for writing and suddenly had my pick of art directors on the course (very few wanted to write).

The next 14 years flew by in London and Bristol, where I honed my craft and was lucky enough to work on many amazing brands. Awards followed; life was good – but I had an itch I needed to scratch. I’d always wanted my own agency and in 2014, the opportunity presented itself (thanks Adlib) to join Create Health.

Since then, I’ve built on the bits I liked, changed everything I didn’t, and in 2020 completed an MBO to grow the business and realise my vision for a creative consultancy in health.

I bloody love what I do!

Sam @ ADLIB: What does your creative team do? (Type of creative, channels, markets etc)

My team is made up of all kinds of talented creative folk… art directors, designers, CGI artists, animators, and copywriters. They work across all media types from direct mail to digital, TV to experiential – all within the health and well-being space.

Most of our work starts at the origination and conceptual stage (pens and paper), then moves into mood boards and higher standard scamps (rough sketch). Once a concept is picked, we transfer the scamp into whatever medium the client has picked such as CGI, photography, or illustration.

Sam @ ADLIB: As a hiring manager, what are some of the qualities that you look out for in a creative?

1. Curious nature, someone who asks plenty of questions.

2. Clear love of all things creative and eagerness to talk about it.

3. Confidence and integrity.

4. Driven to make a difference within my agency and the world of health.

Sam @ ADLIB: When it comes to the portfolio, what are some of the things you’re looking for and why?

1. Original thinking, clearly communicated – for me is key. How you present your work gives me a really good idea of how you think and would handle selling to a client.

2. High craft standards – the little things matter. As a species we are visually dominant and buy with our eyes. Ensuring your work looks stunning and that the small details (like spelling) are right, evidences you care.

3. A good mix of media types. I love seeing variety from an individual, your portfolio is an opportunity to show off, so please do! If you’ve got physical copies of your work bring them too – design should be tactile.

4. The back story. It’s lush to see where an idea came from, or the other routes you ditched. So don’t be afraid to share the early sketches or mood boards.

Written by

Head of Design Recruitment

User Experience & Design Recruitment

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Sam Firth