Back in 2006 I got an opportunity that changed my life, an internship in the creative department of a television network. That internship allowed me to grow and expand on the things I was currently learning in school. It also gave me a glimpse into the world that I was preparing to enter after college. I have to say that the best education is real-world experience. Just sitting in a class of 29 other students, learning from a textbook doesn’t teach you how to learn and adapt to changes at any giving moment. I was there for a little over two years in three different roles (with a little break in between). Today I take those skills I develop during my employment there to help my in my freelance journey.
How to manage and organize multiple projects
The department I worked in was called Off-Air Creative. We were like in-house advertising agency for the company. So our clients were the other department. We had a great system to help manage each job. I currently employ a few of these, such as job numbers log. I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep things organized. I recently created another doc to help keep track of request for potential projects. Some times I get requests for quotes but the clients might not be ready to start the project at the moment. So a simple word doc with all of this info does the trick.
We also used production schedules to keep things on track. Everyone associated with the project had a copy and if something should change revised one would go out. I have fond memories of my cubicle plastered with schedules. I have tried to implement this skill. I have to admit it been pretty tough to do but I know it going to help me in the long run. My plan is to start scheduling projects to help me manage my time better, but of coarse everyone wants their project done ASAP.
Know your terminology
Doing research for a project or even helping out my other coworkers would required me to be in contact with different companies or vendors. So I had to know what terms to used help me get the answers I needed. For example, if we were doing an ad the specs would be given along with a job brief or job action form. Sometimes things changes or we just need a confirmation before the artwork is sent in. Now when I designing printed pieces, I can hold me own went holding conversations with printers, vendors, etc.
Samples and Proofs
Sometimes we would get samples similar to what our client wanted. Maybe it was a brochure that had element that they to use in their piece. I’ve been finding asking for an example of what the client is looking for helpful to make sure everyone is on the same page for what the end product should be. Proofs are also important. You don’t want to hand over the finish product and something has been cut off and the color is off. At my old job we have several systems for this: proofreader (in addition to a copywriter), PDF and/or actual printed proofs. We hate getting billboard/poster proofs in the office because of the smell. They smell like they were fresh off the printer and if you were around them too long you get lightheaded. So now when I do a printed piece I always get a proof whether it an actual sample or a PDF and I review them more than once to make sure everything is right.
Do you have any tips you would like to share?