Evolution is an amazing process but it’s not always the easiest concept to understand. I like to think of it in terms of my chosen industry, advertising and design. See, the industry is like the Earth and as creatives we survive in it as the plants and animals. External influences like technology and consumers work like the Sun and the Moon, changing the shape of the industry and thus how we exist as a part of its ecosystem. My first real exposure to this has been at BCM.
All my knowledge so far has come from a class room where advertising professionals are separated into distinct categories with different roles and clear career paths. Even with the discussion of how the nature of advertising has evolved in the last two decades, there really isn’t much to tell you what life inside an agency is like for the individual. Phrases like ‘traditional media’ might be common in a university, but it’s easy to see once you are in the real world that there really is no such thing as ‘traditional’ any more.
As an aspiring digital designer I have always had the perception that my career would start by being a junior who would sit in the corner and have the boring briefs thrown at them by seniors. I thought I would work up a few years’ experience and then progress to mid, then senior and then maybe eventually be able to sidle sideways into the seat of an Art Director at the age of 45. When I applied to be an intern at BCM I was expecting straight paved roads and picket fences. Instead I stumbled into the heart of the Amazon.
Not a single person works alone here (except maybe the IT guy). Creative and Account Service are not departments divided by function. Instead they work like the forest floor and the green, leafy canopy above it, feeding into each other and sharing roles across the agency to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. I can also feel myself evolving as I see new departments, try a plethora of jobs and witness the awesome collaboration that goes on in within these walls.
Looking over an art director’s shoulder as they are handed the brief to meet the client’s needs from every angle has made one thing abundantly clear: that being a hybrid of designer/producer/copywriter/account manager/media planner/social media guru isn’t some amazing norm of the future – it’s the norm right now. And the burden doesn’t fall on me to be this newly evolved creature once I’m in the industry; it is my responsibility even as an intern to push the limits for what I can do. The clients and briefs of the future are going to demand more of me and my fellow students than we can possibly presently predict. And with that in mind, I am starting to feel a bit excited about what shape I’m going to take to meet those challenges. Who knows, maybe the future advertising hybrid will include being an astronaut!
Caitlin McGowan is a Digital Design Intern at BCM