Reasons to be Creative 2014 – Speaking, attending and remembering to eat

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in in-house design, personal, Public Speaking | No Comments

Hi all,

I recently spoke at Reasons to be Creative conference in Brighton as one of the elevator pitchers. Despite being knocked-out cold on Tuesday (rehearsal day) with the nastiest bug I’ve had in a long time (which stopped me from eating for a whole day and resulted in me elegantly passing out in Brighton Dome) i delivered quite well and even got this lovely tweet from Computer arts magazine. Thanks CA!

The pitch title was ‘In-house design is not a dirty word. 6 pros, 3 cons.’

You can read my script here:

1 – Hello, I’m Eriol. This pitch is about in-house design roles and why it’s not a dirty word.
I’ll be going through 6 pros and 3 cons based on my experiences of being an in-house designer.
I’ve worked in a fair few in-house design roles in varied companies and also worked freelance in between these.

2 – The longest and most recent of which is the price comparison website My 6 pros and 3 cons are mostly from my experiences there.

3 – I’ve attended a fair few conferences and i’ve noticed that in-house designers are under-represented, under-sold and often mis-understood. It can be a great career decision, particularly in your early career or if you’re a recent graduate. So here they are: –

4 – Number 1, When a new campaign is planned, you’ll often get to work on every aspect from web and digital to app and mobile to above the line and print right up until launch and beyond.

5 – Number 2, You work with not just other creatives, but front and back end developers, product managers, PPC & SEO, Marketing, HR and so on. This can broaden your general related business knowledge and knowing what each teams goals are can help you better design for that area.

6 – Number 3, you’re often called upon to plug related skill gaps. A personal example is that i was asked to do production photography for a recent advert shoot. Something which i’ve never done before.

7 – Number 4, Depending on the sector, you can have incredible job stability, a generous training budget and build lots of different skills by learning from colleagues.

8 – Number 5, You meet agencies from the other side of the table when outsourcing particular work. This can give you greater understanding of client thought process and rational which can help if you do freelance on the side or are looking to move into an agency.

9 – Number 6, Because you work with one brand and sub-brands. You become an expert in it and are incredibly valued. It also exercises your skills to keep creative interesting, relevant and up-to-date.
And now the cons.

10 – Number 1, You can be approached with jobs that need completing within days or even hours and little space to say no because your there to solve creative problems for the business.

11 – Number 2, When you’re helping others around the business, they’ll love you and when your pushing back you can get frowns. Either way you’ll get regular desk visits and very little ‘me’ time.

12 – And finally, number 3, working with one brand can get dull and repetitive. Extracurricular activities are a must.

13 – Thank you, feel free to ask me questions on Twitter to @Erioldoesdesign.

On a side note, I had a couple of In-house designers approach me afterwards (thank-you) and a couple of agency based designers (again, thank-you) and the overwhelming feeling was very much what i summed up in the presentation. In-house designers are perceived to be less creative, less worthy of note and often overlooked and discounted or even discredited for being in the job’s that they are.

The purpose of my presentation wasn’t to have a good ol’ gripe though, but merely to get across the point that it is a viable career choice and can have amazing benefits and really suit some people in the things that in-house roles often offer and that it is not simply, ‘failed’ designers that go for these roles.

One of my fellow In-house designers and fellow local South Wales creative stated on Twitter that some In-house roles/designers have created a stereotype of what the ‘In-house designer’ is capable of and yes you can get bad designers who work In-house but you can also get some bad designers that work in an agency or freelance too.

So please, please, if you work for an agency or are freelance and meet an In-house designer don’t give them a woe-begone look and state things like ‘It must be so dull doing the same things over and over’.