Breaking into advertising: what’s it like being an aspiring creative in 2021?

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With a global pandemic and a highly saturated job market, being a creative comes with its challenges. While we regularly feature what it’s like to work at an agency on our blog, today we’re focusing on those trying to break into the industry.

Here, we speak to web designer Lanre Adeleye, Luanda Holness, a multi-disciplined creative and artist Joseph Omole, about their work, their journeys so far in the creative industries and what they think agencies could be doing to help encourage the next generation of creative talent. Here’s what they had to say.

Lanre Adeleye: “I use my TikTok page to show people my process, and the value and the dedication I am bringing”

Ever since I was young, I’ve had an interest in art, photography and technology. I’ve been fascinated by the things you could do with a camera and in Photoshop. This led me to teach myself about graphic and web design with the aid of YouTube. That’s how my career started — interest, motivation and action. 

I’ve started using my TikTok page ( to show people my process, and the value and the dedication I am bringing. This is particularly important due to my age – I’ve found that being an 18-year-old always proves to be the biggest obstacle to winning new work. You have to prove yourself when there are people with years more experience in such a saturated market. When you do finally get work, for me it’s about over-delivering so that I can prove to them that they have made the right choice. 

I think the best way this industry could support up and coming talent is by giving them opportunities. As with any job, to get work you need experience and many new creatives lack that because they cannot get their foot in the door. By hiring young talent, agencies can train and mentor new creatives to be able to produce work to a truly high standard. Don’t be afraid to take on someone who just wants to learn – it’ll help them more than you think.

Lanre is a web designer, activist and producer, based in Leeds. See Lanre’s work on TikTok and Instagram

Luanda Yasmin: “Most of the time when you invest in the person rather than their potential profit, you will help produce the most meaningful art.”

I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember, always performing and writing as a child. I believe that everyone has a passion for something (or multiple things) and we should work towards earning income from doing what we love to do. 

My biggest challenge at the beginning was patience. I’ve been through a very necessary mental shift when it comes to how I view time. I no longer feel like I’m in a rush and most importantly I no longer measure my value by assessing how many people value me. Somehow I got caught up in creating art for validation. But it’s been many years since I was in that place and now I create art for the love of the creation process. We as creatives cannot be afraid to be our own managers and agents. It feels corny to share your own work but how else are people going to find it? 

When it comes to supporting up and coming talent, I would love to see industry seniors offer mentorships that are unique to each individual. Most of the time when you invest in the person rather than their potential profit, you will help produce the most meaningful art.

Luanda is an actress, content creator, model, feminist and writer based in East London. See Luanda’s work on YouTube and Twitter

Joseph Omole: “I’ve always liked seeing how people express themselves creatively and how people can take an idea and bring it to life.”

I pride myself on loving people, using my work to share stories and experiences. I tend to express myself through my fashion and style, as well as with words. I recently created my own digital magazine that explores how fashion is not just an explanation of who you are but also an extension and expression of who you are.

Thankfully I have a lot of great friends who repost my work but getting my work in front of people who are actually interested can be difficult in such an overcrowded market. It’s easy to scroll past tons of artists and not fully take in or understand the creative process that goes behind each piece.

I think more needs to be done to bridge the gap between established people in the industry and people just starting out. This will help up and coming talent gain an insight into not just the enjoyable, fun sides of the industry, but the nitty-gritty elements of agency life that many are oblivious to when beginning. 

Joseph is an artist based in London. See Joseph’s work on Instagram. 

Thank you to D&AD Shift for introducing us to Lanre, Luanda & Joseph. This post forms part of our Spotlight initiative, which gives a voice and offers support to up and coming talent.