101 Nights of Ideas: The story of a Copywriter’s Portfolio

Medi Madelen Gwosdz, a copywriter based in London, has produced “101 Nights of Ideas”, a portfolio book with a difference. When you ask a creative to show you their “book”, you usually expect a pdf or a link to an online portfolio. During the next few weeks, however, a few creative directors will find an actual, hard-cover, hand-stitched, 200 page book sitting on their desk. In gold foil-blocked lettering, the title reads “101 Nights of Ideas” . It makes you wonder how long professional creative and amateur bookbinder Medi Gwosdz actually took to make it…

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas

“I wish it had been only 101 nights”, says Medi. “I have work in my online portfolio. But much of the stuff is years old, and doesn’t translate well, so thought I’d come up with a few fresh ideas for my next application. Once I started, though, it felt like I couldn’t stop.” And after the first and the second dozen, she set herself a goal to make it to 101. Well, originally 1001, but that plan didn’t quite work out…”

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas Prologue

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas 35

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas 74

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas Last Night 101

The 101 Ideas book not only showcases those ideas, but intercuts them with the (mis)adventures of our hard-working heroine as she searches for a job in advertising. The book is printed on recycled paper from the London-based company Paperback, and was printed using the Risograph process at one-man art book printers Victory Press. The binding and foil-blocking was done by Medi herself, during two long weeks at the London Centre for Book Arts in Hackney Wick. Are there 101 copies of the book? The real number is a secret, but she admits to having sent out significantly fewer than that to a select group of agencies in London.

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas

See the making-of on Medi’s Behance page.

We asked Medi to give us some insight into her creative process, talking about inspiration, creativity and respect.

“I don’t think inspiration can be pinned down to a few romantic moments. Being creative isn’t something that comes in a sudden illumination – it’s sporadic and involuntarily, more like a series of hiccups than a flash of lightning. And it comes with a sort of mild embarrassment: “Wait, this is my job?” After all, it is a silly thing, having ideas for a living.

The internet is an amazing place full of excitement and ideas, as anyone reading this blog will know. But sometimes, I actually find that a lack of inspiration helps me to create. I recommend boredom. Not the work-life-balance time off in the mountains, or the therapeutic self-healing through meditation. No, I’m talking about actual, mind-numbing boredom. Just a long wait at the post office without getting your phone out of your pocket might do the trick. Or download an insurance policy and read a couple of pages. I am serious.

It’s important to be aware of the fantastic wealth of creativity out there to have any kind of perspective on your own work. But sometimes, it’s necessary to just let your brain sit and do nothing for a while. Like an old cheese. Hmm.. cheeeese…

It’s ideas, and putting them into words, that excite me – whatever the form. I actually enjoy a lot of spoken word as well as written – I’ve recently overcome a rather serious addiction to TED talks, but I’ve had a relapse in the form of NYC’s Radiolab. It’s a fascinating show, completely unpredictable, and it’s the randomness of the subject matter as well as the intelligent treatment of it that I love. To start you off, here’s an episode detailing the attempt of entomologist Justin Schmidt to measure the relative pain of insects bites – by actually getting stung by every single species he could find.”

Medi Gwosdz 101 Ideas

Filed under: Creative Profiles