On Track 4 included a series of talks from different designers. Sweta Pathak’s talk was informative on the creative process within the industry and what occurs in a brand agency.

Each project begins with a creative brief, these are vital as without it you’ll be lost. They are often very overwhelming and seem chaotic but Pathak said that there is “method in the madness”. It can be referred to as a creative brief, a design brief, a task brief or a do brief, the name doesn’t matter and is a document containing an overview of the problem that is to be solved. Each brief that you are given should have a single-minded proposition so it is important to figure out what this is early on in the project.

Having worked on the project the first point of review will be the creative review. This involves selling your work to your creative director, at this point any changes can be made. Following this will be a team review which involves selling your work to a wider team. Next is a big meeting where ideas are pitched to the client, in this you may be asked to present your work but it is important to give three options for the client to choose from.

When the client has chosen the work, this then goes into production where you work with the production department both internal and external. During this part of the process there will be collaboration with a variety of people including photographers, directors, producers, illustrators, designers, model makers, digital designers, motion designers, UX/UI designers, radio producers and CGI artists. When working with these people you have to create your own brief, previously you were following the clients brief but you have to make your own to bring your work to life.

A piece of useful advice that Pathak gave was to be keen when applying for jobs and trying to get noticed. Showing talent, passion and keeness will help you get somewhere.

Vineet Raheja gave us an insight into the different roles in an ad agency. The size of each team depends on the size of the agency but it can be divided into four main functions: Account Handling, Account Planning, Creative and Production. Raheja gave the team a relay race analogy, giving each department a 100m sprint.

1. Account Handling — this department is also referred to as Client Servicing. Their job involves securing work and they are the voice of the client having constant communication with them to ensure a positive client-agency relationship is built. Within Account Handling the senior roles are Group/Board Account Director, with 3 or 4 Account Directors (each of these will be responsible for 2–4 accounts), next are Account Managers, then Account Executives. You generally begin as a Junior Account Executive and you work your way up.

2. Account Planning — this involves strategy and research. These people are the voice of the customer, figuring out “what” is needed to be said by creating a creative brief and finding the single-minded proposition. Researchers start the process, finding competitive and customer research. This work is passed to Strategic Planners who use the research to get an insight into the brand, pulling out information that the strategy is to be based on.

3. Creative Department — these people “make the magic happen”, figuring out how the SMP created by the account planning team can be created. These designers create the idea and the execution. This department can be divided into the Thinkers and the Doers, however these can be the same people as ideas are locked in first, then executed. The Thinkers include Creative Directors, Copywriters, Art Directors and Conceptual Designers. The Doers include Graphic Designers, UX/UI Designers, Motion Graphics, Editors, Animators and Illustrators.

4. Production — within production work is produced and released, ensuring all work is fit for purpose whether it be for TV, radio, print or digital development. Within print there are Artworkers, Print Managers, TV Producers, Frontend Developrs and Backend Developers.

Raheja gave the analogy of a relay race to emphasise that you work as a team and that there is a sequential nature of the process. Everything within the process is connected and there is an interdependency within the departments; if one department is not working efficiently this will impact the other departments. All defeats and victories are shared so it is important for everyone to pull their weight within the process.

Within Raheja’s talk he explained what different words meant to ensure that no one was getting confused.
Account = brand (e.g. Nike)
Traffic = project managers, ensuring work is going through the departments at the right pace, ensuring deadlines are met

James Fox gave an insight into what to do in a portfolio and what not to do. The key advice given was to not be shy, keep your work relevant and remember that nobody is expecting you to be an expert (especially if you are still a student/recently graduated). Eleanor Smith’s talk gave similar insights into the industry, reminding people that everyone is new at some point and generally everyone will be welcoming and kind. I feel as though going into something new will always be intimidating but it is important to remember that this is normal and everything you do will help you gain confidence.

This event was extremely insightful into the design industry. Second year has already taught me so much about the industry, giving me insights into jobs that I didn’t even know existed. This is important for me as I feel I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to finding what direction I want to go in; but the job I end up in could be something that I don’t know anything about right now. These talks are useful in reminding me that in an industry that is so broad as long as I am passionate about my work and have the necessary skills to excel myself, I will find my way.