Having been in the industry for over 20 years in multiple agencies across three countries, I can truly say I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. If you are thinking of an agency career there are a few things you should know.
It is certainly not all about lounging on Eames furniture in New York style studios drinking coffee while waiting for great ideas to appear. Sure good agencies like all good companies ensure a workplace that is conducive to an enjoyable and productive environment, especially for such a creative field.
But the hard facts of agency life is that deadlines can be very short, budgets are more often than not small and you need to perform in what is a competitive and pressured field.
A thick skin is a necessity for surviving in the agency world too, because during the process of doing your work through to completion everyone will judge it and have an opinion.
An ego is necessary too, this is not to say you need to be an arrogant prima donna (worked with many of those), more that you are prepared to stand up for the skills, knowledge and passion you have for what you do.
There will be times in your career when you will need to be sure and assertive of your work, especially when presenting your ideas to colleagues, particularly senior team members and then clients who have come to you for solutions, which they may not like from a subjective personal taste view.
Now having said this let me start by saying I love being a designer and can’t think of any other career I would rather be doing. It is a fun and creative way to spend your time while being rewarded financially and creatively.
An accountant friend once said to me that he hated his job because everyday felt like sitting another maths exam and he didn’t have anything exciting to show at the end of the day because nobody wants to look at a bunch of figures.
Unlike his job, ours is always interesting as you work with all kinds of clients from all manner of industries, you never know what weird and whacky solution you may have to come up with from day to day. And at the end of the day those solutions become tangibles that you can be proud of, be it packaging in a store, signage or an advert on TV.