Charted courses and completed missions from the high seas.

January 2014

How to Get a Design or Advertising Job Part 2

January 22nd, 2014


Today’s post discusses the topic of  professional internet etiquette and  how to properly follow-up after an interview with a creative agency. This is a continuation of our Career Advice series. You can find Part 1 here. 

Professional Internet Etiquette

One very important factor to consider as you are applying and submitting your resume to different agencies is what’s NOT on your resume. You need to be aware that many agencies, creative directors and human resource offices WILL GOOGLE YOU. It is crucial that you maintain and engage in keeping your online persona professional at all times. Regardless of your own personal opinions, lifestyle, or tastes, the internet is public domain and your online life is a fish bowl. 

Here’s a list of things we recommend you consider before applying for jobs. We do speak from experience on a few of these items.

1.  We suggest that you Google yourself and see what comes up, if there are things that you don’t want your future employer to know, it’s best to get rid of them before you apply for jobs. Questionable photos from college? Consider taking them down ASAP.

We know this seems a bit obvious, but it is quite surprising how many people still take something like this for granted and don’t take action.

2.  Make sure that you have not written anything on your website or blog that would be construed as rude, inappropriate or unprofessional. One incident that comes to mind, was when we came across a recent blog post by a potential applicant who was being arbitrarily critical of a creative agency she had interviewed with for not hiring her. Ask yourself, is this something I should be discussing in the public forum? You just never know who will be viewing your website.

3.   This same kind of scrutiny also should be applied to any of the social media platforms you participate in. From Facebook to Instagram and Linked In, remember that your comments, photos on other’s profiles, anything in social media can be seen for the most part if people haven’t set up their privacy settings properly.

The Follow Up

1.  Follow up promptly within 24-48 hours of your interview
It doesn’t matter if you liked the agency or not, follow up. Either by e-mail or a handwritten note (preferred method), let the agency know you appreciated their time. And, if they asked something of you like tweaking something in your portfolio or working on a small freelance project, do it. Let them know you have intentions for doing what they ask and when you think they will see it from you.

If you want the job DO IT. If you don’t want the job, respectfully decline by e-mail. If you don’t follow up, it is unprofessional and may lead the firm to think you’re not interested. Agencies talk with one another and they definitely share résumés and recommendations of the talented and professional people they’ve interviewed. Leave an impression by following up.

2.  Know that interviewing with an agency is a process
Finding the right fit for an agency is a process. Be patient with the process. It is common in this day and age to be asked to freelance on a project or two before you are hired full-time. The agency wants to get a feel for how you work and if you meet deadlines. A second interview also is common as they let you meet the staff and get to know you better. It may take a few months before you are offered the job. Don’t see it as pulling your chain, but as the agency caring about you and their employees enough to take the time to get to know you.

3.  Have a good attitude and be honest
If you really want the job, go with the flow and invest the time the agency is asking from you. Even if you don’t get the job right away, they know who you are and hopefully you’ve learned several things from the process. Also, when asked direct questions about your skill set, be honest. A creative director needs to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, so they can help you polish your skills while trusting in your talents.

Atlas Branding Scout Books

January 20th, 2014

Atlas-Branding-Scout-BooksHOT OFF THE PRESS: Check out our fun new Scout Books that arrived end of last week. They’re printed with vegetable-based inks on 100% recycled paper with presses powered by renewable energy. Hand-crafted by free-range printers in Portland Oregon. Usually, the cobbler’s kids have no shoes, but we tried to design a few creative Atlas items at the end of last year. Looking forward to giving these out.

How to Get a Design or Advertising Job Part 1

January 15th, 2014

As a new designer, chances are you didn’t get a lot of experience in school on how to apply for, interview and follow up on a job. It can be a daunting task, but there are a few things that you can do right to put yourself ahead of the game. 

This list of advice may seem basic, but in our experience, only a handful of designers are aware of how to follow through with this steps. So, here’s our secret equation that may not get you the job, but can definitely leave a lasting impression that will get you seriously considered as a hire.

How-To Properly Apply for Jobs

1.  Find out who at the firm is responsible for the hiring.
You can achieve this in one of two ways: go to the Contact Us page of their website and look under the section about job inquiries, if it’s not there, pick up the phone and ask the secretary who you should address your cover letter and e-mail to. Personalizing your e-mail and cover letter is important, because it shows that you took the time to look at the agency’s site and didn’t apply blindly.

2. Write a cover letter in addition to your e-mail.
They probably don’t teach this in school anymore and you may think it is outdated, but it isn’t. A cover letter isn’t the intro in your e-mail. It should match the styling and design of your resume and be 2-3 short paragraphs in length. A cover letter is important, because it shows the agency that you respect them enough to apply professionally.

A good cover letter should tell the firm what position you are applying for. Also, it should give the firm an idea of who you are (without bragging about yourself) and what you enjoy doing. Then share 1 – 2 comments that you like about their company and why you think that you would be a good fit there.

3. A resume is not an infographic.
I cannot stress this enough. It has been a recent trend to receive resumes as infographics, but this isn’t a good trend. Instead, you should present a creative, yet classic layout with attention to your typography. For examples of well-designed resumes check out this Pinterest board that we’ve assembled. If you do make an infographic, be careful and be elegant.

4. Follow up with a hand-written note.
In following up, most designers send an e-mail inquiring about the status of their application. Typically they do not receive a response back. Instead consider a hand-written note of inquiry to cut through the clutter of e-mail red tape. It can be simple and understated, but most likely it will be seen by the firm as a very classy move.

Preparing for the Interview

1. Research the firm before you apply. 
You need to be able to speak with them about their work and how you would be a good fit with their process, culture and design aesthetic, etc. They already know this, otherwise they wouldn’t be interviewing you, but you need to do your homework.

2. Show up 5 minutes early and don’t wear jeans.
In today’s world we’re all really casual, especially in creative industries. Out of respect for the person’s time that is interviewing you, don’t be late, and don’t dress down. You don’t have to wear a 3-piece suit, but pants/slacks and a button down shirt will be appropriate.

3. Bring your portfolio, 2 – 4 printed copies of your resume, and a notepad.
This sounds like a no brainer right? Most people we’ve interviewed over the years don’t ever bring all three of these things at once to the interview, and a handful of designers don’t bring their portfolio. You need to do everything in your power to be professional, prepared and respect the agency that is interviewing you.

4. Show 3 – 6 pieces in your portfolio – no more.
You will probably have 30 – 45 minutes for the first interview which means the employer will look at only some of your work. Select your best work and show only that at the interview.

5. Be prepared for your portfolio to be critiqued and be willing to have the humility to follow through with their instruction.
Some creative directors will critique your portfolio as they review it. They are doing this to see how well you respond to constructive criticism. Are you open to art direction? Do you have an ego? Will you modify your work and then send it back to them in order to show that you are teachable, even if there is a possibility that they won’t hire you? Historically, many firms have made hires based specifically on this action alone.

Rising Head & Shoulders Above Competition: Form & Function Architecture

January 14th, 2014


The Challenge

In 2011, Myles Alexander of Alexander Design Studio (ADS) a local architect came to Atlas Branding for advice on how he could present a more cohesive brand for higher visibility in the Asheville community. The communication objectives set before us were:

1. Even though ADS was an experienced and licensed architectural firm, they also were providing additional services in  architectural photography, industrial design, and graphic design. This diverse list benefitted them in being multi-disciplined in the arts, but it also presented a communication issue and mixed message to future clients in what their primary focus really was.

2. The chapter of American Institute of Architects in Asheville is a strong community, but this can make the competitive landscape steep. It can be a challenge breaking through the existing firm options and brands that have been established in the area for several years. Since ADS was a fairly new company, they needed to announce their presence as a contender and really position themselves clearly.


The Process

1. Content Strategy
Atlas helped ADS with navigating through their messaging and strategy to determine how to clearly define who they were and what their specific services would be. Through our process we developed a working understanding of their ideal demographic, industry strengths and the realization that re-naming the company would benefit the future growth of the business. With an action plan in place, Atlas began re-naming and working on the content strategy of the business. It was here that the name Form & Function Architecture began to take root. 

Test of alt text
2. Identity & Brand Collateral
In approaching the identity for Form & Function, we wanted to accomplish something that was modern, yet slightly industrial. We created two mirrored F’s encompassed in a trapezoid shape for his logo that could be used for business cards, letterhead and merchandise like drink glasses and shirts. His visuals also integrate 4-different textures and materials they work with everyday in their designs – wood, steel, metal and concrete. They can rotate out these materials on their collateral and website.

The Solution

Guiding us through the re-branding process, Atlas Branding did an amazing job with listening to our input, understanding our needs, defining our competitive landscape, and finding a way to bring _all those elements together. It was very much a collaborative effort, with my input being respected as much as Atlas’. In the end, we ended up with a name, image, brand, and website that truly reflects our corporate culture and vision… and placed us heads and shoulders above our competitors.”

In the past year, Form & Function Architecture has taken on projects and client they love as well as doubled their staff.