Top 15 Misconceptions About Working For A Design Agency

When you think about working for a design agency, what images come to mind? Do you envision an endless stream of free artisanal coffee, a never-ending parade of pitch meetings and brainstorming sessions, or even a view of the city’s best landmarks from your office window? 

While it’s true that working at a design agency can be exciting and engaging, it’s not all champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Here are some common misconceptions about life at an agency:

How to Choose the Perfect Web Design Agency – YouTube
1. Working at a design agency involves both creative and strategic thinking.
2. Collaborative teamwork is essential for successful projects.
3. The perception of constant glamour may not reflect the reality of the job.
4. Communication skills are crucial for understanding client needs.
5. Deadlines and time management play a significant role in agency work.
6. Feedback and revisions are common in the design process.
7. Problem-solving skills are vital for overcoming creative challenges.
8. The role of a designer goes beyond just creating visual elements.
9. Adaptability is necessary due to ever-evolving design trends.
10. Client expectations must be managed effectively to deliver quality work.

1. I Don’t Have To Be A Design Major To Work For A Design Agency

You might think that a designer’s job is to “make the logo pink.” That’s not the case. Designers who can do more than just draw are much more valuable to design agencies.

A good designer can think creatively and problem solve, communicate effectively, work under pressure and manage their time well. They also need to be able to problem-solve when things go wrong (and they will).

And if you’re interested in working for a design agency but don’t have any design skills yet? No worries! You can learn how here at [design school].

Transitioning from a full-time job to the world of freelancing is an exciting journey. Learn how I went from working full-time to being a freelance graphic designer and discover insights that could help shape your path.

2. Every Designer Has To Compete With Every Other Designer In The Studio For Projects

The second misconception is that every designer has to compete with every other designer in the studio for projects. This isn’t true. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

Design agencies have a lot of work and they have to prioritize what they take on, so there’s no competition between designers at all. Also, agency culture is not like a company where everyone competes for resources; here, you’re working together on projects (and likely as part of a team) to help each other achieve success.

So if you think that your portfolio might look better than someone else’s portfolio or maybe you’ve been told by an agency recruiter that you’re “the perfect fit” for their client but then get passed over for another candidate who doesn’t seem nearly as qualified you shouldn’t worry about these things! 

Each project demands different skillsets from its creative team members and sometimes those skillsets are unique enough that there aren’t any other candidates who fit perfectly into the desired role (but there will always be some overlap).

3. Design Agencies Only Hire People With Significant Experience In The Field

You might think that design agencies only hire people with significant experience in the field, but they don’t. Design agencies hire people with all levels of experience, from no experience at all to someone who has been working for 20 years and has a degree.

Here are some examples:

Someone with no degree but a ton of industry experience. It’s not uncommon for someone to have worked in another industry for many years before deciding to transition into UX design, which is why you’ll find UX designers who have been working as graphic designers or web developers for 15+ years.

Someone with a degree but no industry experience (or vice versa). Some people will go back to school after being out in the workforce for a few years and then decide they want to make their career switch to UX Design.

Others started as an entrepreneur right out of college and never had any formal training before getting interested in applying their business knowledge towards user research and usability testing work through online courses like Coursera’s Machine Learning course or Udacity’s online Data Science course and still, others may be working full-time jobs while studying full time at university so they can earn both degrees at once!

Hiring a freelance designer can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the process. Explore our guide on how to hire a freelance designer when you have zero clue for valuable tips on making the right choice for your design needs.

4. You Can Get Away With Not Following The Rules At A Design Agency

While it’s true that design agencies are relaxed and laid-back, you can’t get away with not following the rules. It’s crucial to follow the rules because it is your job. 

At a design agency, most of the employees report directly to someone in management and generally have at least two layers of management between them and the top boss. As such, you need to be mindful of how you act both inside and outside of work because any misstep will reflect badly on your superiors as well as yourself.

It is also important to follow all company policies even if they seem ridiculous to you because doing so shows respect for your colleagues’ time by not wasting theirs or making their lives more difficult than necessary. You’d want other people in your workplace doing this too!

5. Everyone Who Works For A Design Agency Has An Awesome Portfolio

Agency work, like any job, requires a portfolio. However, you should understand that portfolios aren’t always as impressive as you may think. You can’t expect to receive a job offer just because your portfolio is good. It’s important to understand that your portfolio isn’t everything and it doesn’t have to be perfect.

An agency will only hire someone with the right skill set and the ability to complete tasks on time and efficiently. So if you’re hoping that an amazing portfolio will land you an interview at a design agency then think again!

6. Everyone Working For A Design Agency Just Sits Around, Sipping Coffee And Doodling All Day

There are a lot of misconceptions about what designers do. One of the most common is that they just sit around, sipping coffee and doodling all day. Not true! Designers are problem solvers. They’re innovators, creative thinkers, communicators, and critical thinkers who use their skills to solve problems for their clients.

They’re also organized, collaborative people who love collaborating with other teams within an organization to create innovative solutions for customers’ needs and they love getting the chance to talk about those solutions with others!

A successful logo design project involves more than meets the eye. Discover 10 things you should know before you hire a designer to create your logo, ensuring a smooth and effective collaboration.

7. It’s All Fun And Games In The Office Of A Design Agency

Many designers are under the impression that working for a design agency is all fun and games. The truth is, it’s quite stressful. Designers are often under pressure to meet deadlines, client expectations, and even their expectations of themselves.

When you’re working on a new project with a team of talented people who are equally passionate about what they do as you are, you can’t help but push yourself further than ever before.

This leads to stress levels going up significantly compared to when you were working alone in your basement office/bedroom/living room/wherever else you may have been freelancing from before this opportunity came along!

8. Working For A Design Agency Is Easy And Lucrative, But Low-Paying

Design agencies are not easy. You will indeed be working in a creative environment and collaborating with talented people, but you’ll also have to work hard and put in long hours.

Design agencies are not lucrative. While some design agencies do make a lot of money, the average salary for designers is not high enough to live off of in many parts of the world.

Design agencies are not low-paying. Many companies pay their employees less than what they deserve because they think it is easier or cheaper for them that way but that’s not always true!

9. You Can Come In Late Every Morning And Leave Early Every Weeknight And There’ll Be No Repercussions

This is another myth that designers often believe. The truth is, working late and leaving early isn’t just about showing your dedication; it’s also about being more efficient with your time as a designer and creating better work, which will be reflected in how much money you make over time.

That said, there are companies where the dress code is casual and people come in late all the time without repercussions. 

However, these companies tend to be startups or tech startups (or even small agencies) where they’re trying to be different from other companies to stand out. They want their employees to feel like they have more freedom than others do even if they don’t realize what they’re doing is making them less productive at work!

10. There Are No Perks Working For A Design Agency

If you’re new to the marketing industry and have never worked for an agency, it can be hard to understand why working for one would be better than working in-house. After all, agencies don’t offer benefits like health insurance or paid time off so why should I take a pay cut? This is one of the biggest misconceptions about working at an agency: that there are no perks.

There are plenty of benefits to working at an agency. You may get free food in your office or even free gym memberships (like we do), on-site massage therapists and yoga classes (again like we do), ping pong tables, and video games (also like we do), paid time off…the list goes on!

So if you’re looking for these types of things when deciding between jobs, definitely consider whether or not they could come with your work experience before jumping into something new.

Embarking on a journey to become a freelance graphic designer requires careful planning and preparation. Dive into our article on how to become a freelance graphic designer in 10 steps to gain insights into the essential milestones of this creative career path.

11. Agency Workers Don’t Need Insurance Or Benefits Because Creatives Never Get Sick Or Injured

You might think that because designers are more likely to be sitting at a desk, they’d have less of an opportunity to get injured than most other professions. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Working in a creative field can increase your risk for illness or injury.

Designers are often at high risk for injury due to the long hours spent designing and the pressure put on them by their clients. 

Some designers work late into the night or early morning hours (or both) and find themselves tempted by caffeine and sugar-filled foods to stay awake while they work on foods that are known causes of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity; not to mention lack of sleep can lead directly into accidents if someone needs to rush out into traffic without being fully alert of their surroundings.

12. You Can Party All Night And Still Perform At Work The Next Day; Many Designers Do It Successfully Anyway

The myth that you can party all night and still perform at work the next day is a dangerous one. Being a designer is no different from any other job: if you don’t get enough sleep, you will feel tired and hungover. In addition, designers need to be able to function at work the next day!

Many designers indeed do party all night and then come into work with a hangover but this does not mean it is acceptable or advisable for you to do so as well! Designers who drink alcohol at work are usually breaking both federal labor laws (for being under the influence of alcohol) and state labor laws (for having an open container on company property).

13. There Is No Such Thing As Job Security At Any Design Agency, Big Or Small

There is no such thing as job security at any design agency, big or small. Design agencies are not immune to layoffs, downsizing, and automation. If anything they are more susceptible to these things because of their high-cost structures and tendency towards creative exploration.

The truth is that even the largest design agencies can be broken up or sold off at any time and they often are. Every year there are dozens upon dozens of mergers, acquisitions, and business partnerships between large and small design companies as well as advertising agencies that bring new opportunities for talented individuals looking for work in this industry.

14. You Get To Use Photoshop All-Day

There’s an expectation that by working in a design agency, you will be able to play around with Photoshop all day long. 

However, this is not the case! Most of us do use other programs and tools besides Photoshop for our work. Sure, we indeed spend a lot of time using the program but so does everyone else who works at an agency (and if they didn’t, then why are they there?). We also utilize Illustrator, Sketch, and InVision Studio some designers even use After Effects or Cinema 4D from time to time!

15. All Designers Are Super Artistic And Paint In Their Free Time

If you think that all designers are super artistic and paint in their free time, then you’re mistaken. Designers are not all artists. They do not always paint in their spare time. Most of them spend their evenings watching Netflix or going out with friends.

If you think that every designer is creative and artistic, then you’re also wrong! While many designers have some kind of artistic talent, they aren’t necessarily as inherently creative as people tend to think they are designers need to be able to understand problems and come up with solutions using words, drawings, and software tools like Photoshop or Illustrator.

Starting a design career is an exciting endeavor, and learning from experienced professionals can provide invaluable insights. Discover the secrets to starting a design career with tips and advice shared by seasoned designers to help you navigate the industry with confidence.

Final Thoughts

I hope these insights have given you a better idea of what it’s like to work for a design agency. As an industry, we’re constantly changing, and I’m sure that there are some misconceptions on this list that will seem outdated in the future.

There are many more as well. If you have any other questions or want to add to this discussion, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources related to misconceptions and myths in the fields of advertising, graphic design, and design in general:

Myth vs. Reality: Working in an Advertising Agency A closer look at common misconceptions about working in the advertising industry and the actual realities that professionals face.

10 Myths About Graphic Design Explore and debunk 10 myths that often surround the graphic design profession, providing clarity on what it truly entails.

5 Common Myths About Design Delve into five prevalent myths about the design field and gain insights into the reality of being a designer.

People Also Ask

What Is A Design Agency?

A design agency is a company that specializes in creating designs for businesses and individuals. They create logos, websites, social media pages, advertisements, and more.

How Do I Get Hired At A Design Agency?

The best way to get hired at a design agency is through networking. Design agencies are always looking for new talent and ideas, so if you want to work for one, the best thing you can do is talk to people who work in the industry and see if they know anyone who might be hiring. You can also reach out directly to companies or agencies that interest you on social media or through their websites.

What Does It Take To Be Successful As A Designer?

Success as a designer is all about finding your niche and doing what makes you happy. It’s important not to get too caught up in what other people think of your work; instead, focus on creating things that make YOU feel good about yourself. If you’re passionate about what you do, it will show in your work!

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Working For A Design Agency?

Working for a design agency can be incredibly rewarding but it can also be stressful. Designers are expected to come up with new ideas every day and meet strict deadlines, so if this sounds like something that would stress you out too much then maybe working for an agency isn’t right for you.

Can I Work From Home?

Yes! Many design agencies offer remote work options, which allow people to do their jobs without having to commute every day. This can be especially helpful for employees who have young children or other family obligations that make it difficult for them to get out of the house during normal business hours.

Leave a Comment