Spotlight On NW Creative: Dave Selden’s Fleas

Dave Selden is Design Director at Pop Art and he has some advice for how to present a design portfolio, but the advice is applicable beyond design.
Selden also recounts his migration story (he’s from Iowa).

When I moved to Portland in 2001 without a job, it was in pretty tough economic times. Most agencies were laying off designers, and I didn’t know anyone. To stand out, I put together a gimicky little web site called “FleaDesign,” (still visible online, but horribly out of date) a tongue in cheek way of promoting my diverse skillset as a do-it-all designer managing a team of talented, creative insects. “FleaDesign, Inc.” was just me and the fleas, and we put together “The World’s Tiniest Website,” something original enough to get me noticed by creative directors who were then being deluged with resumes. It got me in the door at a lot of places, and eventually led to my first job in Portland. The rest, as they say … is history.

Reading through Selden’s 10 portfolio tips and considering his use of a “gimicky little web site” makes me think about my own approach to Portland’s agencies. I realize now that I had so much success in my last job and to a different degree, here on AdPulp, that maybe I’ve overlooked the need to get back to basics as far as my hunt for work is concerned.
Another thing I’ve come to understand (that’s been difficult for me to accept) is that I can’t lead with AdPulp, if it’s copywriting work I’m after. To me, AdPulp is such an obvious showcase of my writing and my ideas about the business, but it’s not a “portfolio” and it takes a great portfolio and a helpful network to get work, not a site like this.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.