Since I've soon worked here for 3 months I thought I would sum up the past weeks for you.
I applied to this agency in november last year. I made a portfolio with graphic design elements - I had to do this from scratch because I didn't really have material from before to apply with.
No "professional" experience in the area and educated 2 years in photography, 4 months in graphic design and 3 years in industrial design. Aiming for commercial was a wild card, but I wanted to give it a chance.
I started to work in march.
We're about 28 people at the office and amongs us we're 6 graphic designers, 3 art directors and 2 copyrighters. The remaining employees are finding clients, keeping the contact with clients and calculating costs (retail consultants and project managers). We're lucky we have them because it's tricky to do the design-part while you have to keep the contact with the clients and manage with money.
Our agency mainly works with retail. That means that we create things that pop up in the store when you wan't to shout out about a new product, competition or campaign. Where does the customer look when she's in the store? How to you get her attention?
For every client we have a project group consisting of a retail consultants, project manager, art director, copyrighter and graphic designer.
Example: Let's say a mustard company had created a new flavor. They contact us so that we create commercial for the grocery stores (not the shopper) so that they buy this new product and make room for it in the shelves. Once the store has accepted it we have to make the shoppers see it. It can be anything from a little shelf pop-up to an "tasting-event".
When the project group meets this is what everyone does:
The retail consultant knows what the client wants (and has in some cases found the client) so it's his or her responsibility to inform the rest of us of what has to be done.
The art director makes sketches of ideas and possible solutions.
The copy righter has to come up with the phrases that will be associated with the product ("because you're worth it") and every other text that appears on any unit.
The graphic designer puts it all together. A lot of work in Photoshop and InDesign (sometimes illustrator). In my case I also get to photograph and illustrate.
The project manager has various task depending on the person, but they mainly keep the contact with the clients, send them all the files, make presentations, calculate costs, call the people who need to be called.
For me, the tricky part is still when it's about exporting all the units for print. If you're a "normal" person not working with prints every day you're used to blaming the printers when your photos look all wrong in color and light. But with time you learn that there is a looot of things you have to change and fix before you can print. Color profiles have to be right. Dpi has to be right. You have to know which colors are "unprintable" and need special pantone colors. You need to know how it will be printed, where it needs to be cut, if the material is shiny or matte.
A lot of time the problem is that the photos given from the client is very low in resolution and doesn't print well. But many times there are no photos at all (especially when it's a new product) so we have to fake a package in photoshop.
Haha, ok, I don't know if you followed, but I'll write more some other time. I can't fit everything in one post. This can be part one :) Our office is on the left side of the street by the red car on the second photo.