What drives me:
It’s a mix of fear and passion. Yes, in that order… My biggest fear is becoming complacent; turning into just another “meh” creative who chooses comfort over continuing to progress in their craft.
Being a designer isn’t just a job title for me but a passion. Through design we have the opportunity to raise awareness, inspire change, or simply to bring a smile to someone’s face. There’s a special feeling that you get as you develop and overcome various obstacles along your journey.
Let’s be honest; very few of us are smart enough to cure cancer or perform complex surgical procedures. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part to help make things better for generations to come. Through advertising we’re able to be a part of something that can have just as significant an impact. With nothing more than a little creativity, data, and luck that message can have a ripple effect.
Design is a lot more than matching colours and pretty pictures, it’s about understanding your audience. Finding the most effective way to communicate in a tone that resonates with them on a fundamental level.
Lastly, I have a pipedream of one day expanding or opening an agency to my hometown of Nassau. I owe who I am as creative and person to the people of that island. One day I will position myself to where my talent can attract major clients and talent to the country. That or just bribe them with beaches and coconuts, whichever works.
As crazy as it may seem I truly believe that with nothing more than constant progression and building the right connections, one day this can come true.
Brand or Product:
Products are an essential part of any business, but they don’t have to be the most important part of it. Today with the popularity of social media the image and reputation of a company can shift overnight due to a single post that went viral or a controversial ad. While larger companies for the most part, can shake off any backlash and keep it moving – *cough* Pepsi – it could be death sentence for a smaller agency or startup.
We live in a world that has become hypersensitive to everything regarding race, gender, sexuality, politics, etc.; and as a result, consumers expect brands to do the same. Is it fair? Not really, but it does serve as a check for brands, and if used properly a way to grow its audience.
Whether you’re a Nike fan or not, you cannot deny the power of the message they delivered. Nike does an amazing job using current events to show its support for a cause it finds meaningful.
The most recent example featuring “crazy women” is just another example of what can happen when a major company uses its voice to empower a target demographic. Instead of highlighting products that “make you like mike”, they use the deeply human aspects of striving, failing and facing rejection ultimately to defy the norm and find success. All while giving two polite fingers to those who dismissed you because of a perceived weakness.
It all boils down to personal preference. Products are the lifeblood of any business, we all love the newest tech, refreshing drinks, gadgets, and overpriced hobo clothes. We also respect companies that show they value the consumer, as well as various worthy causes from reducing environmental damage to civil rights.
Marketing trends shift. What I believe truly makes a lifelong customer is being genuinely honest about what your brand is, and what you stand for.
Jack-of-All or Specialist:
“All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.”
Choosing which path, you want to travel down at the beginning of your career can be one of the most difficult decisions you could make. In today’s market we’re all expected to wear multiple hats, this is especially true in the advertising world. All things being equal; a designer who’s adept at five programs is far more valuable than one who is only versed in three.
Those extra skills save the client/agency both time and resources that would otherwise be spent on outside vendors. In addition, you have a more in-depth understanding of what is plausible, timeframe, the technical and creative aspects that are needed to bring an assignment to life.
While “Less is more” is a rule drilled into every creative coming up, this may not apply to the skillsets. You HAVE to meet the needs of the market, break into the industry and to stay relevant long term. Similar to musical instruments, if you’re familiar with one then going to another can be fairly smooth once you have a solid base in a similar platform.
Specialists have a unique freedom; they do not have to invest time into a skillset that they do not need. You’re able to develop the skills you need at a much faster rate. Look at photographers, artist, and illustrators, most have a defined style that they have developed and refined over time.
Having a defined style is the draw to a client who wants to know exactly what they are getting. The drawback is, if you are in a saturated market, it can be hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
Look, in the end the only person that knows what is best for you is you. While having a mentor or peers to guide you is a fantastic resource to have, we all have to branch out and find our own creative voice. Each of us have a different endgame in mind, for some we want to continue to evolve and push boundaries, for others it’s grinding it out until their in a position where everything is comfortable, and some simply just want to be in a field for the perks and culture.
These are deeply personal choices and all valid reasons – I lied, please don’t be the third option – this is a tough field with a lot of competition, if you half ass it chances are you’ll be in for a rough ride.