Designers, I’m calling you out.

As we approach 2020, it’s clear that large creative agencies are struggling to be agile in our rapidly changing consumer markets. Organizational hierarchies are flattening and restructuring in hopes of improving speed of performance.

Upstream’s advantage is that it was created 19 years ago to be nimble and respond quickly to any ask, so we’re already ahead of that curve.

Everybody here works and communicates directly with each other and we all have the opportunity to be leaders. It helps that each of us offers more than a singular skillset.  But the best part is, our ideas are valued more than our titles. 

This is especially true for our creative team members. 

Historically, graphic designers were considered work horses, hired to make things “look pretty” and told to “go do,” but at Upstream, the collaboration between designer and creative director is critical, so both navigate and communicate fluidly together within the creative process. Designers have to consider business objectives, marketing strategy and creative execution, then articulate it all back to the team and/or client.

To survive in this industry, designers need to be creative strategists.

I’m calling you out, if you’re a designer reading this and thinking:

“Sh*t. They didn’t teach me this in design school.”

“Sh*t. I don’t know anything about creative strategy.” 

“Sh*t. I don’t know how to talk about my ideas very well.”

“Sh*t. I lost my confidence and forgot how to push back.”

If you desire to be a better, more respected creative, you can be. Just take the time to learn about the business of design and power of strategy with the same care you took to learn the Adobe Creative Suite. 

And if you continue to improve your knowledge base, your confidence will grow too. 

So, to get you moving in the right direction, I recommend a book that I found invaluable in my efforts to contribute more as a designer; Creative Strategy and the Business of Design by Douglas Davis.

It’s a great book that will have a real impact on how you think about your creative work. Douglas Davis is a designer that also studied business, so he understands our strengths and deficits as creatives and speaks to them. He breaks down complex business concepts into bite-sized pieces. 

If you’re ready to step up your game, this book is the perfect first step on that journey.