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The Artworker

I often get a look of confusion when I tell people I’m a creative artworker. I understand, as it’s a varied and diverse role and has a less obvious title compared to a graphic designer or an illustrator.

Essentially an artworker is a more technical and detail-orientated role where a designer or an illustrator is more focused on conceptual ideas and creativity.

One of my core responsibilities is to take creative design concepts and edit, retouch, rework, or format them into finished pieces of work. Working within the creative team I get involved with the project from start to finish – supporting the team by ensuring completed artwork meets the client’s briefs and stays within brand guidelines.

Typically, artworkers can be based in-house or within design/creative/marketing agencies.

Previously, I had only worked in-house at an agricultural and construction company, on the side of the client. Having spent the last six years of my early career immersed in one brand, I felt I needed a change and a new challenge. The change – to take the leap into agency life.

 

The right agency

People often discourage the switch from in-house to agency, citing work patterns, added stress and increased workload as major turn-offs. Therefore, it was important for me to seek an agency that looks after its employees and instils a positive working culture.

Social has one corporate value, ‘Life Happens’ – a promise to help us get the best possible work-life balance. The values, culture and support for flexible and hybrid working were all key factors that drew me to apply to work at Social.

As an artworker, I need to exercise excellent attention to detail at all times, so hybrid working is ideal for me. Working from home helps me to concentrate with fewer interruptions, increase my motivation, and reduce on commute time. Although it has also been beneficial to spend a couple of days a week in the office, especially as a new starter, as it’s allowed me to begin to build relationships with my team. Spontaneous in-person conversations have sparked new ideas, better collaboration and increased my understanding of the business

 

Differences

Variety

In-house usually involves working on one brand with a defined structure and little wiggle room for creativity. This can make it difficult to develop new innovative concepts which can lead artworkers to find their job quite repetitive.

However, you’ll work on a far wider variety of projects when working within an agency. You’ll continually be learning by engaging with a diverse range of clients from different industries.

Learning

At an agency, you need to consider multiple target audiences and keep up to date with a breadth of industry trends. You’ll be constantly challenged, pushed out of your comfort zone and will be able to experiment with different styles.

The ability to experiment and collaborate with other designers will lead to a wider skill set and a greater understanding of design as a whole.

Pace

Many consider the pace in-house to be considerably slower than in an agency. With quick turnarounds, I’ve found working for an agency to be fast-paced and exciting. You have to remain focused and prepare to always be kept on your toes as you’ll never know what challenges a new project or client will bring.

You’ll quickly develop organisational and time management skills in this fast-paced environment.

Priorities

I found it much easier to prioritise work in-house as there was a clearer hierarchy – if the Director decided he wanted something doing it usually went straight to the top of the to-do list.

At an agency, managing different projects for a wide range of clients can be difficult. To combat this, using project management tools, like Float, can make life much easier as they allow you to layout and prioritise  work.

 

Thoughts

Quickly within the first two months after moving from in-house to an agency, I knew I had made the right decision and Social was the right place for me. The internal values, culture and people as well as the work we produce for our clients excites me and inspire me to continue to learn and develop.

I couldn’t be happier having made the smooth transition to an agency.