An interview with Lady San Pedro, Associate Creative Director at Mrs. Wordsmith about working in agency vs in-house in the Creative industry.
In this ‘agency vs in-house’ interview series led by Salt Senior Consultant for Creative, Holley Potts, we speak to customers from all different sectors within the world of digital to answer the age-old question – agency or in-house? This series is designed to give you a snapshot of creative career journeys and insights into what is currently happening in their businesses. Over to Holley…
Up next, we have the wonderful Lady San Pedro, Associate Creative Director at Mrs. Wordsmith who gives us a great point of view coming from the Education sector on the difference between agency in-house…
Holley – Welcome Lady! Seeing as you have experienced both agency and in-house, what are your thoughts on both of these and how do they compare?
Lady – What I love about being in-house is being part of a brand, you belong to it. The difference between that and agency side is that in an agency you have variety as you are working on different types of brands and clients, which is great for portfolio building. from agency, it is such a different level of skill and craft that you develop in agency, it’s unrivalled in my opinion.
Holley – Totally, like you said the skill sets can greatly vary between agency and in-house. I tend to find multi-disciplinary designers are more prevalent amongst in-house, would you agree?
Lady –Speaking for the start-up space, you want people who are more generalists than specialists. There are other things that are also valued like being able to pivot quickly, and speed, not just in production but in things like concepting to problem solving.
I have no preference between agency vs. in-house, but what I do look for is what the company values. I want to work for good brands, and would choose an agency that works with good brands. In terms of style, I have done both. What I see lacking in-house is that focus on training in terms of craft, but there are other things you learn, you are very much responsible of the commercial success of the business as well.
I find it troubling when people are closed off, looking for creatives with a very specific background, as so many skills are easily learnable. When I joined Mrs. Wordsmith, there was no official design team so I evolved this to grow a multi-disciplinary team. I didn’t want this team to be limited, so I absorbed everything from web design to motion graphics. I don’t think creatives should be limited to one skill as it makes your core skill better to learn other disciplines.
Holley – The start-up space, like you you said is something that has been very attractive to many designers for quite some years, I have noticed a big shift from designers coming from large companies and wanting to go to smaller start-ups, for many reasons such as seeing projects from concept to completion, have you found that too?
Lady – Indeed, I feel agencies have a strong focus on gaining credentials. When a project wins something, it could have been a year in the making and could have moved through many teams since the original concept, so credits vastly change. Whereas in a start-up, your names are still in the books and you will always be the author of that project, so there is definitely a bigger sense of ownership.
Holley – There is definitely something quite satisfying about being one of the authors of a project and really seeing that whole story through. Speaking of story, has Mrs. Wordsmith’s story changed after everything that has happened this year?
Lady – I would say it has stayed the same. Since lockdown, a lot of children all over the globe are being home schooled so we are still catering to parents and children, it’s just the content that has evolved. We’ve looked at how we could re-package this content for lockdown.
Holley – As they say content is king! Like you said working to the same goals but adapting content to this new world that we are living in today. Despite all the negatives that have happened this year, there are always positives that emerge as a result, what positives have you seen?
Lady – Lockdown has proved that we can work effectively remotely. I think the fear of people working remote is generational, especially when you can’t see them in the same room. It’s about overcoming that and trusting the people that you employed in the first place.
Holley – So take us away Lady, what have you guys got in store for Mrs. Wordsmith that we can expect to see from you this year?
Lady – Without revealing too much, we have started working in game development. We are well-loved for our characters and black line art style. We are expanding our brand by getting into games, still educational, data driven and creative, but just a bolder take, using lots more motion and interaction. The challenge is really in trying to bridge the gap between static, moving image and digital to have it all belong to the same brand.
A great viewpoint from Lady looking at all the different paths between agency and in-house, it’s interesting to see how there is quite a topic on craft between these two sides.
Read more of our agency vs in-house interviews here.