I’ve worked in both the corporate and agency world.
Fresh out of school, I started as a graphic designer and photographer for a hockey and lacrosse retailer. For a new designer, that job was awesome! I was able to take a concept and run with it. I would shoot the ads in the studio or on location, work my magic with that photo in Photoshop and then transform it into an ad for big brands like Bauer, Easton, and Reebok. I had ample resources at my fingertips, from a warehouse full of equipment to pro athletes who would work there on their off-season. Shooting an ad in-house is a designer’s dream. Most of my portfolio still shows ads from this job. As much fun as it was, though, over time I wanted more responsibility. I wanted to be challenged by more senior designers in order to better myself and grow as a professional. This is when I got the opportunity to join a fast-growing marketing agency.
As I had never worked for an agency before, I learned quickly that the work was demanding, with long and late hours. But, there was never a dull moment! I designed brand identities, websites, print, and digital ads. I was lucky enough to create ads for national brands like GoDaddy, Fireball Whisky, Spectrum, and more. My designs would fly out the door and then new ones would take shape. I was constantly slammed with work and I did this for years.
However, I wanted more. More than just designing. I wanted to see and be a part of the big picture of a project from beginning to end. For example, I would be tasked with the design and layout of social ads. The social and paid media teams would provide all the tools I needed in order to create the ads, and I was provided social copy. I was told if the ad should be static or video, and which social platforms they would post to. Even though I was curious about how and why we did what we did, it was difficult to find time to learn and to research the metrics of which ads performed better and why.
About four years ago, with the birth of my first son, the long commute and late hours started to wear on me. Those extra hours away from my family started to impact my quality of life at home and then that pressure would weigh on me at work. About two years and one more baby later, I had to find a solution.
I heard an opportunity opened at TVG (The Vandiver Group, a well-established PR agency), and it was much closer to home. Not only were they looking for a graphic designer, but they wanted that designer to wear multiple hats and be more involved with the projects. Oddly enough, TVG regularly partners with the agency where I previously worked, so some of the clients were familiar. This job was right up my alley and I was ready for the challenge! When I interviewed for the position, I was impressed by the sincerity of the TVG leadership team. They had a passion for not just their clients but their employees, too. I knew I could take the designs to the next level, and I loved the idea of being part of the bigger picture.
That is what sold me on joining The Vandiver Group. If you want to make a career change, check out the careers link on our website at https://vandivergroup.com/careers-public-relations-st-louis/.
By Ryan Stiles, Senior Digital and Creative Manager