First of all I want to say thank you for the replies to last weeks issue where I talked about motivation and ‘surviving’ weeks vs ‘thriving’ weeks. I do read every reply to this newsletter, and it means a lot to me when you take the time to share your thoughts on the topic!
Today I have a question for you…
Do you enjoy designing social media assets and ad imagery?
Seriously, I’d like an answer to this. Just click on your choice below to vote in the poll.
In my first year employed as a full-time designer, I remember spending hours in Photoshop working on simple graphics for newspaper ads and Facebook posts thinking “I can’t believe I’m being paid for this!”. I was overjoyed to be pushing pixels for a living and didn’t care what I was working on, as long as it involved using a design tool.
Fast forward a few years of experience and learning, and the same brief would have me groaning “I can’t believe this is what I’m spending time on.” I was hungry to be working on bigger and better things, looking for any opportunity to work on something that was more important to the business.
Can you relate? Are social media graphics and images for ads or content your least favourite type of pixels to push?
You’re not alone, let me assure you. This work is often not the interesting problem solving that gets our creative juices flowing, especially as we get further into our careers and start craving more of a challenge. But despite that, this work is still important to a business.
Every single asset that someone sees from your company adds up to the impression they build of your brand. And assets that appear as ads or on social media feeds are often the first impression, which—as we know—counts for a lot.
This is quite the conundrum, then.
This work isn’t what we want to focus on; but it’s important for the business. The number of design assets needed is often far more than a small marketing design team can produce with care and attention given to each individual piece, so if we’re not careful they can take up all of our time.
When describing her work at a 1000+ employee fintech company, designer Monika Pawlik said this:
Does that story sound familiar to you?
Have you been the in-house marketing designer working on the rote production work, while the company hires an agency to work on the things that drive the brand forward?
When there’s more work than there is hours in the day to complete it, it makes sense for things to be outsourced. But in my opinion—and I’m sure in yours too, as it is for Monika—the fun brand-building campaign projects are the wrong thing to outsource.
While outside perspectives can be very insightful; as an in-house designer the context you have around the brand and the product that your work is used to market is incredible valuable. You instinctively know how far you can push things while still being ‘on brand’, and you’ll be the first to identify when the definition of ‘on brand’ needs redefining too.
To progress in your career, and to increase the impact that your work is having on the business, you deserve the opportunity to move the ‘boring stuff’ off your plate and work on the creative projects that have more impact and build the brand.
In the marketing design book I’m working on, there will be a section about how you can make that happen through setting up a templated system for assets that makes creating them more efficient.
The above is actually an excerpt from some book writing I’ve been doing, so I’d love your feedback on it! Did it resonate with you?
Side note: If you’re a designer who loves creating social media graphics and the like, I want you to know that is truly fantastic. Your passion can lead to you being a much-sought-after expert in this type of design work.
Solutions for making social media asset design easier
Check out this video I made last year talking to David Preston about this conundrum and the things he put in place at Sendible to make it easier as a marketing design team-of-one.
I got to hire David onto my team at ConvertKit at the start of the year 🙌 It was fun to watch back this video knowing that we now work together on solutions for social media assets and ad imagery!
Need a laugh? Watch these “client work calls” by Pat Flynn
They’re such an impressive use of this Reels format. Short, funny and so relevant to any freelancer/entrepreneur 😅 Go follow him on Instagram to check them out.
I have ONE WEEK left of work before I start my four week sabbatical! In the next issue, as well as sharing the results of the poll at the top I’ll also be sharing a little more about my plans for my time off.
Have a great week!
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