Work as an In-house Creative

•February 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

For the past year I’ve had the chance to work with some talented folks at the John Deere Agricultural Marketing Center in Lenexa, KS. These guys serve as the In-house advertising team for John Deere’s most celebrated division; Agricultural Equipment. They are always working hard at pumping out the best creative possible, while respecting the brand.

It has been an interesting experience! The majority of my young career has been working as an In-house creative, first at a small manufacturing company (single designer situation) and now, although I’m contract, part of a larger creative department. It’s always a challenge to come up with ideas that stay within guidelines while pushing the bar. Mostly working on the external online creative proves to be more of a challenge at times as there are contingencies to the online space for companies in the Ag industry. One of the ways I’ve approached these situations is through research; I’ve been able to pitch ideas/concepts based on previous experiences of other companies as well as present a twist that can added to the solution. Value Adding has become a new favorite term of mine; being sure that the value of the action, in this case the design/animation, adds value to the campaign and the brand.

Another tough part of the job is keeping fueled up on creative energies. So far the remedy for this has been checking out inspirational sites (ie. Smashing Magazine) and seeing what local designers are up to via design communities like the AIGA Kansas City Chapter and the local KC Adobe Design Core. In the search for inspiration and methods I came across a posting from the AIGA. It’s really informative and is providing some great ideas, I urge all In-house creatives to take some time out of their day to read it: Running on Empty: Tips for Tuning Up Your In-house Team by Glenn John Arnowitz

So long – for now :O)


Brand New presents 2009’s Best and Worst Identities.

•December 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So I’ve finally gotten some time to sit down and write a blog post! YAY! I hope everyone, no matter what you celebrate or don’t celebrate, is having a good time with family and friends. I know I’m looking forward to the next year as my fiancé and I will be getting married and touring the US trying to celebrate the event with everyone (touring receptions – nutty concept I know). Wish us luck! :O)

Speaking of New Year’s excitement, Brand New has released it’s 2009 Best and Worst’s Identities list and it is killer! Not only does the post champion strong designs like the Meredith and NYPL (which was done by the in-house staff), but it talks about identities that didn’t quite hit the mark and need improvements (City of Philadelphia and Bing to name a few).

Enjoy the posting:

Swamped and loving it!

•September 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Apologies about the lack of posting guys. Your friendly neighborhood designer (me) has been swamped these past few weeks. There seems to be a good pick up in people wanting design work (who would have thought!)

I’m interested to know if anyone else has been receiving a healthy surge in work, so feel free to leave comments. In the meantime I’ll keep you guys entertained with come really great links I’ve Stumpled upon while doing inspirational research:

Great tips and photography collections:

Catch up on some companies and their re branding efforts:

For all the print fans out there (including myself):

Enjoy folks!

DJ Stout rebrands Dairy Today, news to me :O)

•August 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Okay so before I start this post I’ll go on to say that the views in this posting are my own and not the views of John Deere. John Deere is not endorsing any particular publications or design businesses mentioned in the following post.

A few days ago I came across an “old” Pentagram posting of DJ Stout’s redesign of Dairy Today and I was floored! Why? Because here it was, a great design studio, housing many of my most favorite designers, working on an Ag Publication. I thought it was great and decided to show it around the office. It was nice to see that most folks didn’t even know who Pentagram was, but they enjoyed the redesign (that happened about over a year ago) and enjoyed the new energy in one of their favored publications. One writer even commented on the types of cows used in the photo shoots and a designer was fascinated by the portraits of the cows and questioned how the dairy farmers reacted to seeing such beautiful (or ugly) creatures on the cover of the magazine.

New Dairy Today branding and magazine covers.

New Dairy Today branding and magazine covers.

While I was unable to get responses from dairy farmers due to my position, I will say that it seems like the new branding was well received and much needed. It seemed like the brand needed some “refreshing” and I hope that Dairy Today is making it work for them. I’m also doing some more research on design companies/studios, their dealings with the Ag community…more to come!

Congratz to Jacob Cass!

•July 29, 2009 • 2 Comments

So yesterday my fiance, Suzy, tells me that the young man who’s been giving her gems via his blog site received a job offer from Carrot Creative located in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY. I was thrilled to hear this because I’ve seen Jacob’s work and thought he did some awesome things. So I ran over to his site and read the fascinating story about how he got contacted via Twitter for the position and used Skype to conduct interviews with the folks at Carrot Creative (he’s located in Australia).

This story floored me as I thought about a conversation my mother and I had a few weeks ago about the progression of the job application process and how technology has changed the game entirely for many professions. It seems that nowadays, as long as you are talented, and persistent, putting yourself out there and making sure you are networking you are more likely to get connected to jobs then those who are not. Another example of this progressing phenomenon  would be myself, as I landed my current position through a LinkedIn direct message from a recruiter!

Congratulations Jacob and I wish you the best! Enjoy NYC and maybe I’ll see you on the Brooklyn streets.

Good labor for cheap?

•July 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

Okay companies of the US I’m getting sick and tired of you guys taking advantage of the economic situation and paying people garbage for jobs that require a high amount of skill. What am I talking about?

Position responsibilities include:

  • Managing/scheduling daily graphic output for print projects to meet deadlines
  • Checking work to ensure all products meet the exact measurements as stated in the production packets
  • Develop new graphic solutions to increase departmental efficiency without compromising quality
  • The ability to laminate, mount, trim and install all graphics
  • Insure quality and integrity of product before it progresses to next step
  • Work with other production departments to facilitate installation or integration of graphic components with other production work
  • Alert management to all potential problems that may occur during production
  • The ability to negotiate outsourced quotes for large volume graphic projects
  • Maintain graphic materials inventory for department
  • Schedule and/or perform necessary maintenance on equipment
  • Supervising/training any temporary print production staff during busier periods
  • Ensure the receipt of correct size and amount of substrate from router room
  • Perform other work duties as assigned

Qualities/experience you should possess:

  • Previous experience running large-format Inkjet printing equipment is required. Winntech uses the following equipment: Roland Camm-1 Pro, Model CX-500 vinyl plotter Roland SolJet PRO II V, Model SC-545EX large format printer HP DesignJet 5000, Model C6095A large format printer HP DesignJet 5500, Model Q1251A large format printer
  • Previous experience with Onyx, Wasatch or similar print software
  • Knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. software
  • Previous experience applying/installing graphics and vinyl decals
  • Knowledge of graphic materials, substrates, and different printing techniques is required
  • Detail and goal oriented self-starter with ability to organize effectively
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Quick learner with the ability to make decisions dealing with complex issues
  • Ability to prioritize and execute required tasks in a highly-dynamic environment
  • Graphic Design experience is welcome
  • Must possess the ability to work evenings and weekends as required
  • Must be able to multi-task
  • Possesses a sense of urgency and is accomplishment focused

All this for $30-$35k per year…are you kidding me!?

Companies, please understand that just because you have not positioned yourself to be flexible during hard times, does NOT give you the right to offer such low pay for a job in which someone who probably just got laid off was making a hell of a lot more.

Buck the hell up and offer people what they are worth!


Find your inner creative.

•June 17, 2009 • 3 Comments

Okay so this will be my first post on this blog and I wanted to get something off my chest that has been bugging me for a while. I’ve only worked a few short years in the professional world and I’ve seen a lot of designers taking a dive for various reasons. What kind of dive you ask? The dive of creativity! I’ve met so many talented people who know that they’ve been destined for greatness, but fall to the wayside. People who can identify entire font families in one look, those who can compose illustrations into a ballad of playful banter while still maintaining the message of the product, and those single individuals who can draw the finished product (dead on!) in good ole traditional pen and paper. Some of these folks go on to do great work and have a great career, while others seem to be stuck in this…”funk”. They are lost and stuck in some corporate job that slowly sucks the life and creativity out of them.

I’ve settled on the fact that even though you maybe a great designer, there are life choices that need to be made, maybe you have a family to support and you just straight up need a job. I am, a firm believer in doing what is right and taking care of business, but I also believe that you should be happy in whatever it is you do. If you can’t be creative at work, then be creative at home. If you find yourself in a creative funk, then step out and do something new! Don’t settle for average, don’t settle for the “Full-Time Gig” and certainly do not cut yourself short, find your inner creative and let it loose in some way shape or form.

That’s my rant – thanks for listening 🙂