Léon Bristow graduated from Media Design School's Graduate Diploma of Creative Advertising in 2021

Graduate Diploma of Creative Advertising

Léon graduated from the Graduate Diploma of Creative Advertising, earning a role in industry very soon after graduating. By 2023, he had been ranked #4 in the top 10 Best Art Directors in the World by Cannes Lions Talent Rankings.


An Art Director oversees the entire visual side of a campaign, from a blank page and conception, to the final sign off of work. The process usually involves, concepting, designing, directing, pitching, etc; Campaigns can be anything from print, out-of-home billboards, social media, radio, innovation, experiential, direct mail, and more. With so much going on, we have to be very nimble in the job.

Because of all that, there's never really a ‘typical’ day. I usually show up to work early to try and catch the calm before the storm, and that's probably the only consistency I have at work - which is fun for me, as I like to stay adaptable.

When I first approached Media Design School (MDS) I was actually looking for more studies in graphic design. The future student advisor at MDS said I would probably be more suited to the advertising course. I had one meeting with the Programme Director, Kate Humphries, and I was sold. MDS was perfect preparation for the industry. The class is treated like an agency, and we are given real industry briefs as part of the curriculum to work to. While MDS definitely sets you up, it was the off-the-computer tasks after an idea was 'sold', where I had to be nimble and learn fast. Even so, I was still surprised at how much learning on the job was needed once I joined the industry.

Léon Bristow worked with fellow MDS Alumni and copywriter, Callum McDonald to create Skinny's viral campaign

My favourite part about studying at MDS was the drive we were encouraged to have. A drive to push limits, to go beyond what was expected to get to where you wanted to be. The drive I was taught got me the amazing opportunities after MDS. This, along with differentiating myself was what I’ve taken with me. What can I bring to the table that nobody else has? Advertising is a competitive industry and you need that point of difference to set you apart. The best places in the industry really embrace diversity.

I’m aiming to eventually have an epic portfolio of work that I'm super proud of, and living all over the world to work for the best in the industry. The best part is that it doesn't seem unreachable, after all, it's what this industry is all about.

For people that want to do what I do: go to MDS, do some proactive research/learning, take up as many opportunities as possible, talk to people and even cold call/email/DM.

You can check out more of Léon's work here: https://www.leonbristow.co/

Léon Bristow worked with fellow MDS Alumni and copywriter, Callum McDonald to create Skinny's viral campaign