Corporate Life vs. Design Firm Life

I see your point on inhouse design, there is a sort of renaissance that has been occuring.
It would be interesting if people put out a list out the names of companies that have inhouse design in their local areas.

here’s my personal experience between corporate and firm:

corporate is like being in the military. it’s a big organization and it can all be mobilized to get something done, but it will take longer. you will have to deals with a lot more politics, beuracracies and departments. you will get work done at a more consistent pace, which is fairly even. weaknesses are hidden by large numbers (like sales figures). you can be a go-getter, but you’re going to look like an enlisted man trying to break into the officers corp through kissassery. when the military you work for is determined, it can kick anyone’s butt.

firm is like being in a street gang. you have to prove yourself everyday and the first sign of weakness is like a bright neon sign…it’s that noticable. you are close to your gang members and you almost feel like family, but you are also a little afraid for your life if you go against the grain, they’ll ‘kill’ you by firing you. it’s encouraged more to push yourself, but you better keep up and not challenge the gang leader too much unless you’re SURE you can beat him/her.

I couldn’t have said it any better. would like to add if you cross the general in that army you can also get shot.

I was thinking the same thing when I read that yesterday… Ninja nailed it. I especially liked the part about challenging the gang leader

I think you right-on pier. I’ll add that an in-house ID team is ultimately responsible for creating more value, extending and delivering the attributes of its BRAND(s) to customers, executives, business partners, internal development teams and external vendors, manufacturers and design firms.

A few more skills that come with in-house experience have to do with the realities of collaborating with large internal and external development teams by proposing, influencing and ultimately driving the design intent through to production. This is where the rubber meets the road for an in-house designer IMO and is the most important take-away. If it’s a large corporation, effectively communicating design to multinational and multidisciplinary teams of project managers, stake holders, engineers, marketers and human factors experts is challenging and uses all the design skills and tools in your arsenal as well as ones that will be learned or even created.

KungFu Jesus, I don’t altogether agree with your take on corporate vs consultancy which sounds myopic and kinda disturbing. Your corporate experience must have sucked. Though I can see where this could be useful for new graduates being hired on in a consultancy. If you get hired it was for a good reason… trust in that and you’ll be fine.

This post may also help (minus the UFO rant):

a few thoughts on the topic…

You will learn something no matter where you are/go (corp vs. consult). Each career experience is a building block for the next, even career moves that appear sideways or even backwards provide amazing chances for learning.

With either corp. or consult. you can expect the following no matter what:

  1. You always have a client (internal or external).
  2. The end user is always the most important consideration.
  3. There is always a deadline.
  4. There is always crap work that no one wants to do but it must be done.
  5. The grass always appears greener somewhere else.

So in short whatever you decide to do in your career is a win win situation if you let it be. You should soak it up wherever you are and prep for the next step you want to take.

  • cheers

Having been worked for both a consulting firm, and a corporation and having done freelance, I’d have to say they all have their individual learnings and pros and cons. No one is really better than the other, but it is more a matter of finding the right fit, and of course corporations and consultancies vary radically in terms of structure, creative culture, work load, and type. The best thing is to plan to work a few different places for the first 10 years… and beyond.

I’m still waiting for the fourth option to pan out, win the lottery and start my own thing :wink:

One aspect worth mentioning is something I call the ‘family syndrome’.

I’ve noticed many talented inhouse IDers don’t get the full respect they deserve. An outside consultant walks in, says the same stuff the inhouse IDers have been preaching for the last five years and suddenly the Marketing guys are all enthusiastic about the “consultants’ idea”.

Luckily I’ve seen only witnessed this being on the consultant side.

The same thing happens within families. Somehow if the partnership is not a chosen one, the credibility of the information seems more subjective. Too much prior history maybe.

Of course this can’t be true in all in-house situations though -keep in mind the culture and makeup of corporations varies radically more than in consultancies.

This is all too ture. You have to learn how to let it roll off your back and just try to develope relationships whit htese firms. You then have imput into what is going on.

that’s fine but it doesn’t matter if you agree or not, it’s my experience.

not everyone is a rockstar designer. the 5%'ers will get these sort of idealistic jobs, the rest of us will be successful in our own right irregardless of the companies or clients we work for, or in spite of them.

let’s face it, we are still a part of a system. our job is a function of a business meant to generate revenue. everyone will find their way in either environment. let’s remember that to be successful, we have to keep our egos in check and not take ourselves too seriously.

Good point Paul.