Advertising is one crazy industry. The people are talented, the clients are tough, and the expectations are high, especially for the creatives. There are a number of things designers face each day when working, but here are the top ten challenges of designing at an advertising agency.
As a designer, deadlines dictate your entire schedule. You must plan accordingly to get jobs completed for your clients. The biggest challenge is when deadlines change or get moved up because the time crunch becomes more stressful. Keeping an agenda of deadlines and important dates can make prioritizing much easier.
Keeping your cool
Sometimes it is incredibly tough to keep your cool in certain situations. You are dealing with deadlines, clients and different opinions. All of these things can lead to a melt down if you don’t stay cool and take a deep breath. Walk outside, go play Ping-Pong, or foosball and then come back to the situation and find your cool.
Doubt is something that every designer deals with at least once during the creative process. It is hard to design something and not have a moment where you doubt what you created. You wonder if it is good enough, if the client will like it, or if you’re even going in the right direction. Run your ideas by a few co-workers if you are feeling doubtful and they will help you out.
This is the most challenging thing to deal with as a designer, no matter how many times you go through it. Putting time into a design, only to have it picked apart is always difficult. When facing criticism, write down any comments, wait until your boss is finished to ask questions and don’t be afraid to fight for your work – passion is what makes good creatives great!
Clients want their jobs done quickly, correctly, and on time. There is always a challenge when the job has to be completed in an hour. You may work on ten to twenty jobs in a day depending on the turnover. If you know you are having trouble getting the job done in an hour, speak up right away so the team can plan accordingly to finish the job.
Caffeine helps the creativity flow, without it you’re doomed. Always keep an emergency stash in your desk (you’ll thank me later).
You start working on a job and get halfway through when someone needs you to complete a task for them immediately. You get it done, send it off, and then have to refocus on what you were doing before. This can always be stressful, but you have to buckle down, focus, and realize it is part of the job.
While these are rare, they do happen. Something gets miscommunicated to a client, designer, or account executive and you have a mess on your hands. The best thing you can do is sit down, reassess the situation, and work with your team to improve communication for the future.
Balancing work and personal
As a designer, your hours can be long. The typical schedule is 8 hours, however, there are days you may find yourself working 10, 11 or 12 hours. This can be tough when it comes to your personal life. The demand in an agency is high, so planning your weeks ahead of time can make the balance easier. If you know you have to take a day off, give advanced notice and put in some extra hours to make up the difference.
Learning the process
Every agency does things a little different. It is important to understand the creative process and the flow of work at any agency you work at. You need to be able to adjust the way you do things to be a successful designer. If you are struggling to adjust, ask questions, sit in on meetings and submerse yourself in the agency culture as much as possible.
Every job has its challenges, however being a designer comes with different territory. While designing at an agency can have its ups and downs, it is an incredibly rewarding job. You get to see your work brought to life and into the hands of consumers. If that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is.