As the summer’s wrapping up like a Chipotle burrito, so are many summer long projects at Curiosity Advertising. From our traffic department to the production team, the agency is all hands on deck. It’s an exciting time, seeing everyone collaborate to deliver the best possible work for our clients. However, with the tight deadlines and occasional critiques, it has also been a bit hectic and sometimes stressful around here.
Truthfully, wherever you are on the project’s route within and around various departments, stress is a part of the job. It can be hard when people judge your work on a regular basis. If you’re anything like me, you might let the stress get to you in ways you don’t realize. In my time at Curiosity, I’ve learned how much it can help to think of some simple phrases to get you and your team through times of stress:
“What can I do to help?”
I hear this phrase frequently at Curiosity and it’s undoubtedly one of the most powerful things someone could say. Letting your coworkers know you’re there for them and that you’re ready help complete a task that’s overwhelming them can put your team at ease and motivate them to keep pushing. Even if you can’t be of any physical help, just letting someone talk through a project can help them manage their stress and gain perspective on next steps.
“Take a walk.”
One of the first things Ried, our creative director, told me to do was to take a walk. I was confused about how that could possibly help, but I took his advice and went for a 10-minute stroll around downtown Cincinnati. When I got back to the office, I immediately recognized what a difference a simple walk had made. Just a short time away allowed me to organize my thoughts and get my creative juices flowing so I could effectively complete the final stages of a client project. It might not be for everyone, but the next time you’re feeling stuck, try taking a walk to clear your head and recharge your creativity.
“Show me your way!”
It can be easy to fall into standardized design execution, or any standardized execution for that matter. When you use a formula and add x with y, and xx to yy, with the undeniable adorable photo of a basket of puppies…boom, you’ll have another mediocre piece. At one of my first design critiques as an intern at Curiosity, I heard the feedback: “These are nice, but I want you to show me your way.” Although it can be a little nerve-wracking, it’s nice to be reminded that it’s okay to break structure and to approach projects in a different way. Usually, the end product will be better for it!
“Practice makes progress.”
Probably one of the most discouraging aspects of any creative job is how occasionally, your tireless work can be shut down within a matter of seconds during a creative review. I’ve learned that nearly 80% of my work will not move on, and even the work that does pass critiques will still require some tweaks and edits. While it can be difficult to process the feedback without taking it personally at times, it’s important to understand any step you’ve made is still valuable to the project and a learning experience for you as a creative. Just take a deep breath, listen to the critique, and understand what the next steps are and how they are moving the project forward to the ideal result for the client. Who knows, your original idea could be the right fit for another project!
We all get a little lost sometimes—we get stressed, and can lose focus, drive or motivation. Sometimes we need a little help seeing things from a different perspective. Whatever phrase listed above encourages you, share it with others. That’s what makes our culture at Curiosity Advertising so great! It’s amazing what a brief exchange of encouraging words can do for someone; just don’t forget to also repeat them back to yourself.
—Danielle Schaefer, Curiosity Intern