Advertising, Art Director - Mete
University attended: Monash University
Course completed: Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) (Honours)
Current job (company/position): I am currently an Art Director at Saatchi & Saatchi, an advertising agency in New York
When did you first become engaged with the idea of entering your professional field?
I first became engaged with the idea of being a designer in when I visited the Pixar: 20 years of animation exhibition at ACMI in 2007. It proved to me that people could make a decent living from drawing pictures and creating ideas. I grew up loving to draw but didn't consider it a real career option until then. I transferred from my Arts Journalism degree (which I was having difficulty with) to Visual Communication that week. I was worried that spending a couple of extra years at university suggested that I was falling behind but it's actually a great place to take your time and try as many things as possible.
At what point in your schooling did you realise that going to university would help you achieve your career goals?
I realised during year 11-12 that going to university would help my career goals once I decided what they were. I don't think anybody should have to decide what their career goals are while at school: it was a time when my aspirations and hairstyle changed every week. We had a career advisor in high school who'd do weekly talks about our options after school (university, TAFE, cadetships etc). I'd encourage any environment that allows you try different paths: university, TAFE, travel, apprenticeships. Take your time and try as much stuff as possible.
What are two things you wish you’d known about future careers or study when you were at high school?
- I wish I'd known that universities and employers would accept me based on my willingness to learn as well as my abilities. My knowledge of design programs aside from Photoshop was minimal and my work wasn't at the highest standard. During job and course interviews, they're more interested in how willing you are to learn from them, their job is to help you create great work.
- I also wish I knew that personality goes a longer way than you think. You can get the best marks or be the fastest runner but the greatest asset can be qualities such as humility and empathy. People are more likely to give you a go if they like you.
What is the best part of your workday?
I love any opportunity to collaborate on ideas. I come from a freelance design and illustration background so all my work to this point has been done solo. You'd be surprised how much your work improves when you throw a group of talented people in to the mix.
What are two feel-good elements of your job?
- I've been working on a gun education campaign, it feels great that I can use my skills to raise awareness about a huge issue in the USA. Though Saatchi is a massive empire, it feels great to be a part of something that gives back to the world.
- I came to New York with zero work connections, absolutely nobody knew me. However, the creative community in NY is so open to new comers. I contacted 60 employers before I left Melbourne, 15 gave me interviews and they collectively hooked me up with another 20 interviews. It's a refreshing surprise that New York nurtures creativity if you have it.
Can you share three interesting/unknown facts about your job?
- In the Design world, nobody cares about your resume, where you went to school or what awards you've won. Make cool stuff, show it, be kind and people will want to help you.
- Be persistent. I emailed Saatchi's Chief Creative Officer every day for a week before he responded. Had I given up, I wouldn't have been offered a ten week internship that became my current Art Direction position. When I had a chance to apologise to him, he didn't even know there were five emails.
- Share. Share yourself, your work and your ideas. The online tools are there for you.