The Three Hour Brief

The three-hour brief was designed by VET Teacher Con Emmanuelle to give his Diploma of Illustration students a taste of the real world by experiencing the demands of working with a real client under simulated workplace conditions.

The basic approach goes something like this:

The students are told at the start of the year that a ‘mystery client’ will be revealed to them in early April with a hypothetical illustration brief. As far as the students are concerned – this is a real job. The students are then given 24 hours to learn as much as they can about the client (and the job itself) to help prepare themselves for the lesson called “The Three-Hour Brief” which will take place the following day. This may include, gathering reference material and developing concepts and / or preliminary sketches. In the past, our mystery clients have included organisations such as Red Bennies Burlesque Parlour and Circus OZ.

In terms of VET education and Art Education there are many benefits for the students by undertaking the “The Three-Hour Brief”.

Firstly, the students will learn very quickly whether they can cope with a ‘real world’ (albeit hypothetical) illustration brief and whether their existing skills and work ethic will allow them to complete the job as required. They will also learn very quickly how prepared they were for the job (mentally and physically) and whether their adopted Illustration style and techniques had served them well.

Secondly, the students will receive important and valuable feedback from the client themselves. One of the greatest features of “The Three-Hour Brief” is that the CLIENT is ask (invited) to evaluate the work created by the students and hopefully provide honest and even BLUNT feedback. In the past, an art-director or marketing manager representing the ‘mystery client’ has invited the students to their premises for a face-to-face post-production review. Sometimes the client would come to us and we can arrange a round-table meet-and greet and feedback where provided directly back to the students.

There were two challenges conducted over two lessons. In the first challenge, we were given 180 minutes to create original artwork for the poster. In the second challenge we were once again allowed 180 minutes to actually design and create the (print-ready) finished art for the A3 poster. The poster would of course include the artwork (illustration) we had created in the previous lesson. We were required to bring art materials, surface stock, tools and equipment, reference photos, concepts, sketches and development work to each class as required. It was an amazing experience. A little stressful at times but ultimately rewarding. I learned so much about myself as an artist and how I was able to cope (or not) with a real client brief.

The “The Three-Hour Brief” has become one of the most rewarding and important projects delivered in the Diploma of Visual Arts (ILLUSTRATION STREAM).

Below are some from our visit to the Circus OZ headquarters in April 2017 where their artistic director gave a rather insightful review of the students artwork and poster designs. It was a fantastic experience.

Click this link to view the actual project brief.

Here are some examples of the students work:

To view previous student work and entries for the Three-Hour-Brief please the links below.