With the final deadline for the In-House Design Awards on Friday, July 18, now is not only the time for you to gather your best work and enter but also for you to get inspired about your role as an in-house designer or leader. Afterall, we know that the work you’re doing is often unnoticed yet making the everyday beautiful. And so does our expert team of In-House Design Awards judges.
You’ve already met Robin Colangelo and Ed Roberts who provided great advice and a look into their work. Today, we’re excited to hear from in-house expert Andy Brenits. As an in-house leader, he shares career advice, such as how you can move forward in your career, provides updates about InSource and explains what makes a project award-winning.
Andy is not only the creative services leader at Arizona Public Service, but he is also the president of InSource. He has worked with big brands, managed his own design consultancy and returned to working in-house more than eight years ago. His experience with design goes deep–and so does his love for it.
Since 2007, he’s been a member of the InSource board, saying that his work with this group has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. On a personal level, the business relationships and friends I’ve made are amazing and have allowed me to grow as a creative business leader.”
For in-house managers just starting out, how can they move their own careers forward? And how can they best support and build their team?
Managing a design business – or any business – just isn’t taught well enough in most art and design schools. We learn the creative process and design fundamentals, and get to practice our craft for years until we’re considered “experienced.” But we’re not really prepared well enough for the day we get elevated to management.
To prepare for a career in in-house management, you’ve got to learn those skills related to running a business. Whether that be through traditional training, like instructor led classes, or on the job learning, through taking on new responsibilities over time, it’s important to understand management techniques to perform the role well. It’s also important to learn the difference between managing, and leading.
Along with the traditional training and learning experiences, I highly suggest finding a mentor who can coach and advise you along your career path. InSource announced that we were piloting a mentoring program last year, and I was surprised by how many designers reached out to us seeking mentors. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask experienced in-house leaders to reach out to me with their interest in being a mentor to the next generation of in-house leaders.
As in-house grows, designers are going to be elevated to the ranks of management and leadership. We owe it to our industry to ensure that they can do their jobs well, and secure the value proposition of in-house corporate creative departments.
Tell us about the philosophy/driving force behind your career.
I have always agreed with the late Paul Rand, one of my design heroes, that “Design is everything. Everything!” I’m passionate about Design (big D) and the creative process, and how it can be used to drive business goals and profitability. This has driven me throughout my career whether I was in-house, working at a design studio, or when I was consulting on my own. It’s also something I try to impart to all of my students, whether I’m teaching a design studio or management class.
Do you have any updates about InSource?
Since January, we’ve added new members to our board at both the director and contributor levels. We’ve got some really great, energized people working on new programs, and we’re looking forward to the first big update to our website in almost five years.
We’ve got some amazing things planned for the next nine to 18 months that will really benefit in-house leaders, and those who aspire to be in-house leaders. In-house is growing, and so is InSource.
What makes a project award-winning in your opinion? And why is it important for teams to enter competitions?
Obviously the work needs to be creative, but I’m also looking for work that proves the strategic value of the in-house creative department. The work should demonstrate, in some way, a contribution to achieving corporate goals.
Recognition for a job well done is a proven management technique that pays dividends. Entering, and hopefully winning, a design competition is a great way to recognize the efforts of your team. And if you do win, what better way to show upper management that your team is doing great creative work than to be recognized by your peers?
Get your designs noticed by our expert judges and by other in-house creatives. Enter the In-House Design Awards by July 18 for your change to be recognized in HOW magazine and in our online gallery.